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The Cat In The Hat

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Cat In The Hat

Starring: Mike Myers, Dakota Fanning
Director: Bo Welch
Rated: PG
RunTime: 78 Minutes
Release Date: November 2003
Genres: Comedy, Kids, Family

*Also starring: Alec Baldwin, Spencer Breslin, Kelly Preston, Sean P. Hayes, Candace Dean Brown, Paige Hurd, Danielle Chuchran, Norman Fessler, Stephen Hibbert, Amy Hill

Review by Steve Rhodes
½ star out of 4

What is the movie version of THE CAT IN THE HAT about? Set decorations and dirty jokes. A perversion of the book, it stars AUSTIN POWERS's Mike Myers, who gives a dirty old man rendition of the famous cat.

Easily one of the worst movies of the year, THE CAT IN THE HAT is so bad that Dr. Seuss should sue from the grave. By television director Bo Welch and television writers Alec Berg, David Mandel and Jeff Schaffer, it is one of longest eighty minutes you'll ever spend in a theater.

Dakota Fanning, something of a fingers-across-the-blackboard actress in her previous films such as I AM SAM and UPTOWN GIRLS, turns in the only decent performance as a girl named Sally. The script uses her natural obnoxiousness well, having her be an anal youngster who uses a lime green Palm Pilot to manage her life. Spencer Breslin plays her brother, Kelly Preston plays her mother and Alec Baldwin, as the mother's boyfriend, is the villain of the piece.

The lifeless production is so obviously DOA that it makes you wonder if anyone ever bothered to watch the dailies.

As the studios are counting the cash that the film's name draws in, they have much more to be embarrassed about than the lack of energy in this kids' movie. Most of all, they should be ashamed of the lewdness of the humor in a PG-rated -- get serious MPAA! -- movie marketed to very young kids. Although I could go on and on, let me provide you with a few examples: The kids watch in horror as the cat ogles a Playboy like pinup pull-out of their mother. As the cat tries to lick a garden hoe, he calls it a "dirty 'ho," but says that he loves it anyway. The cat is struck hard in the groin with a big baseball bat. We see a man's naked buttock farting. All manner of profanity is used, but they cut off the last letter in order to fool the easily fooled MPAA. One of the songs, which are all awful, is about cutting off a guy's balls. We have a dog pee on food and have jokes about fish peeing in the water. And there is a scene of vomiting into a barf bag.

Now, I ask you parents. When you take your kids to a PG-rated movie based one of the most beloved writers of children's' books ever, would you expect to find any of this in it? I didn't think so. You should write the studios, the newspapers and anyone you can think of and tell them what you think of this perversion.

Even if the movie had had a complete script rewrite to something closer in tone and spirit to the book, the costume for the cat would have sunk it anyway. With no facial expression possible, save some control over his lower lip, Myers ends up being as handicapped as members of certain ethnic groups with their hands tied behind their backs. Performances come from much more than merely speaking the words.

When the movie is over, don't be surprised if you find yourself bursting into loud applause. Rarely have I felt so saved by having the ending credits finally roll. Let's hope we don't have to endure anything this bad again anytime soon.

THE CAT IN THE HAT runs 1:20. It is rated PG for "mild crude humor and some double-entendres" and would be acceptable for kids around 12 and up, but I couldn't recommend this movie to anyone.

My son Jeffrey, age 14, who is a big fan of Dr. Seuss stories and was really looking forward to this film, gave it just one star. He liked the colors and the gizmos but nothing else. He said that the movie wasn't for any age and was disgusting and needlessly gross. He said that he should be able to take the kids he baby-sits to a Dr. Seuss movie, but he couldn't take any of them to this one.

Copyright 2003 Steve Rhodes

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