The Cat in the Hat

"Terrible"

The Cat in the Hat Review


Make a movie about a black cat, and you're just asking to be cursed with a streak of bad luck. Yet even the most hardened cynic will be surprised at how far Universal's The Cat in the Hat strays from the childish antics of Dr. Seuss' original work. Judging from this humorless monstrosity, the Cat team spent 10 years working on their film's decorative appearance and a combined 10 minutes writing sleazy jokes and a catastrophic script that I wouldn't use to line a litter box.

Director Bo Welch and production designer Alex McDowell earn a few points for their visions. Welch perfected his craft on lavishly bizarre features like Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice, and McDowell's design work on Cat literally sets Seuss's story free from the page. The gorgeous sets form a pastel feast for the eyes. They're a sight to be seen, yet they're inserted into an unwatchable bomb that shouldn't be seen by anyone.

As for Seuss, his story stays the same with minor revisions. Single mom Joan (Kelly Preston) sells real estate, but her job is at stake. Her boss, Mr. Humberfloob (Sean Hayes), has an odd germ fetish, and he demands that her house be spotless when the company hosts a gathering of real estate clients there that evening.

Joan's children, meanwhile, have issues. Control freak Sally (Dakota Fanning) plans each minute of her day in a pocket organizer. Brother Conrad (Spencer Breslin) needs parental supervision, but he's too busy keeping his mom's smarmy boyfriend (a sinister Alec Baldwin) from shipping him off the military school. One rainy day, the kids are visited by a troublesome cat (Mike Myers), who promises fun but delivers mayhem.

Our luck changes for the worse the minute Myers' black cat crosses our path. Never before has a title character sucked the energy and humor out of a project the way Myers does when he prances across the screen. His black cat is a Roach Motel of comedy. Jokes go in, but the laughs don't come out.

Myers' approach to the cat is a mystery. He can't shed the sounds of his past characters, from Linda Richman to Dr. Evil. His impressions lean more towards a mixture of the Cowardly Lion and Match Game panel member Charles Nelson Reilly. With a lack of material, Myers opts to mug more than a street gang in Central Park, and his shtick grows annoying almost immediately. He's trapped in a one-man show where every gag bombs.

Cast members not shackled to a cat suit come out okay. Baldwin finds the right comedic tone using one-quarter of the make-up Myers requires. Fanning continues to prove she's the best actress still shopping at Gap Kids. And Hayes gets decent laughs hiding behind a glossy talking fish.

But it's not enough to justify the efforts on screen. Cat boasts a truncated 81-minute runtime, but has enough material to fill eight. All in all, this Cat is a dog.

The critic sat on the cat.



The Cat in the Hat

Facts and Figures

Run time: 30 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 10th March 1971

Production compaines: Universal Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, Imagine Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as The Cat, as Quinn, as Mom, as Sally, as Conrad, as Mrs. Kwan, as Mr. Humberfloob / Voice of the Fish, as Thing One (as Danielle Ryan Chuchran), Taylor Rice as Thing One, as Thing Two, Talia-Lynn Prairie as Thing Two (as Talia Prairie)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Advertisement
Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.