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05/25/2004: "Cat In The Hat"

Theodor Seuss Geisel is glad he's dead, because he didn't have to see what happened when The Cat In The Hat transitioned from childhood favourite book into a Hollywood comedy.

Truth be told, The Cat In The Hat wasn't my first choice for a movie. However, in deferring to my wife's tastes, The Matrix: Revolutions was out, as were a bunch of other action-based movies, so I decided to see what a live-action Dr. Seuss book is like. And boy, let me tell you, I was underwhelmed.

The movie and the book are similar in title and cast only. The Cat is there, as is Sally and the brother (who is never named in the book), and even Thing 1 and Thing 2. That is where the similarities end, and the huge chasm of difference begins, none of it really good. Instead of giving you a blow-by-blow list of how much I didn't appreciate this movie, I'll touch on the high points:

1) In the book, the Cat walked in uninvited. In the movie, the Cat magically appears. Huh?

2) The book Cat romps and plays until the house is a mess, with the kids trying to stop him. In the movie, one event goes wrong (an overplayed, alright-we-get-it-already skit) and then everything from that point is trying to fix it, including bizarre subplots.

3) What is up with the neighbour-dating-mom subplot? Where the hell did that come from, and just how is that supposed to fit in the movie? I know your Hollywood Movies For Dummies handbook says you should add a subplot for depth, but this one really didn't work.

4) This is about as much a kid's movie as South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut was. Do not rent this for your kids unless they're old enough to know that Saturday Night Live used to not suck.

5) Mike Meyes may as well not have worn the cat outfit. Whether he was actually cast for the role, or was simply chosen with the thinking "He'll be able to pull it off," he was simply not a good Cat. Nothing like I would have expected, and certainly nothing that the books would lead you to think about the Cat.

6) Pathetic couch-jumping. Go ahead, paint the wires bright pink and wear the harnesses over your clothes - it won't make much difference, as it's painfully obvious that you're trying to do some kind of basic wire work. What was wrong with just using a trampoline?

7) Drawn out "funny" scenes. Mike hams it up... but way too long. Couch mechanic? Cupcake machine infomercial guy? Talking cat with lawyers and huge contract? Far too long and drawn out. A gag that overstays its welcome is about as funny as a dead fish.

I think you get my point. Unless you REALLY want to see how bad it is, just don't bother wasting your money on this overblown bucket of purple glop of a movie. You'll get more bang for your buck watching You Can't Do That On Television reruns. For that matter, you'll feel more nostalgic, too.

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