The Cat in the Hat?

Ooooh, how bad can it get?

It’s so sad, sad, sad, sad

I had quite a bit invested in this movie about some (“shmucky”) Cat in the Hat. After all, it was medicine prescribed to me by the good old Dr. Seuss, or so I thought, in his attempt to heal this broken heart of mine. But it failed, sadly enough.

So what ingredients didn’t quite stir so well?

There were a few rather sweet elements thrown into the mix. First we were hit with the decorum, the Populuxe eye-candy, if you will – it was, in a word, gorgeous. The cinematography, the meticulous attention to detail… Perfect. Everything was thought out in a manner that probably most audiences are not even going to appreciate enough. The scenes are filled with sharp remarks about past, irony, and “kitch.” But, unfortunately, that’s as good as it gets.

The medicine goes sour, as it turns out. Kelly Preston, Alec Baldwin, Mike Myers and the motley crew, err the kiddies (the adorable and promising, in a if-you-must-like-kids sort of way, Dakota Fanning and Spencer Breslin), can’t save this picture. Their performances are solid enough, and yes, even Mike Myers’. Sure Myers does a lot of “shtick” and turns the Cat into something that the good doctor probably never intended, but with a better script, it could have worked.

And that’s where it gets interesting. The real tart in this production is the script. It is meant to be the most powerful string on which all else rests, but unfortunately it is horrific. The script is full of cheap toilet humor trying to sell itself as ‘adult humor’ stashed away in a kid movie. If such cracks are what sells as adult humor on the black market nowadays, something is seriously wrong.

In addition to the dim-witted attempt at comedy, the script contains no plot, no intrigue, no originality – nada. Just a bunch of fillers and a ‘moral lesson’ tucked on somewhere. This is a script in need of some serious ‘doctoring,’ which it unfortunately clearly never got. It’s simply sad, that’s what it is. And now, I cringe as this thing crawls up in the box office.

I guess next time I need some medicine, I’ll just read the darn book!

PS. Is there an assassin available? Someone needs to put “Thing 1” and Thing 2” out of their misery.

DEAR READER: Loved this movie? Hated it with a passion? Want to put me in your black book of movie critic darkness? E-mail me at: [email protected] and maybe we can make a deal.

Dr. Seuss' The Cat In The Hat is out November 21, 2003.

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