The Cat In The Hat

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The Cat In The Hat
Review (5/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

In Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat, Mike Myers plays a big, hairy, talking pussy. The Cat invades home of the obsessively obedient Sally (Dakota Fanny) and the trouble-making Conrad (Spencer Breslin) on the same day their single mother (Kelly Preston) has left for work and begged the kids not to mess the house. She is having a work party at her home later that day and her anally retentive boss (Sean Hayes) has threatened to fire her if there is so much as a speck of dust in her house. The kids are left in the care of a narcoleptic babysitter (Amy Hill) and once The Cat shows up, the house is turned upside down and backwards into "the mother of all messes". Besides having to deal with the mess of all messes, the kids are forced to deal with mother's two-faced boyfriend Larry (Alec Baldwin) and his desires to send Conrad to military school and marry their mother. And just when it seems like things are going to hell in a handbasket, there is a brief cameo by the now infamous Paris Hilton - almost unrecognizable wearing clothes and with nothing in her mouth.

So how is the movie? Well, for one thing, it's very short. And in this case, that is a good thing. The movie does have a few genuine laughs, some for the kids and a few rather surprising and somewhat misplaced adult jokes. I'm not sure if I had children that I would enjoy explaining to them the meaning of the term "dirty ho", although the cameo by Paris Hilton might make that slightly easier. Mike Myers is okay as The Cat, although he really didn't seem to nail down the role. He was a little Austin Powers at times, a little Dr. Evil at others. At other times he seemed to resemble his coffee talk lady from Saturday Night Live and then at other times he seemed to be doing the lion from Wizard of Oz. He just seemed to be all over the place without a unique identity. And although he generated some genuine laughs, they seemed to be few and far between. And for the rest of the cast? They were like the rest of the movie - okay. Nobody really stood out. The talking fish was probably the best all around character and what does that say when you are out-acted by a talking fish? Kelly Preston is easy on the eyes, for all you dads taking your kids to the movie. Alec Baldwin was horrible I thought. He plays an ass, so that could be a good thing, but I just found myself sneering at the screen every time he was on it. His performance just seemed so forced. And with that big hairy chest of his, he probably could have played The Cat - without the costume. The set of the movie, the city of Anville, seemed rather appropriate - very Seussian, if that is even a word.

On the whole, I would have to say The Cat in the Hat is a very average movie. With a movie like this, I usually try to gauge my rating on the reaction of the kids. Well, the theatre was filled with kids and I found the theatre eerily quiet. The kids seemed to be getting fidgety at times and rather non-interested as the movie dragged on. There was some laughing, even some kids laughing at the adult jokes, including ones that I barely got. The young boy sitting next to me seemed to be on the edge of his seat at the end of the movie as Kelly Preston stuck her key in the door of her still messy house. But once this movie wraps up rather abruptly, after a shameless plug for Universal Studios, I would be very surprised if many kids leave the theatre with cat on the brain. Maybe time for a catnap, but parents should be relieved that you probably will not have to run out and spend money on The Cat in the Hat merchandise machine. The movie just does not have enough for the kids to want more.

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