The Cat in the Hat (2003)
Directed by Bo Welch

Artistic & Entertainment Value

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Bo Welch's The Cat in the Hat, like the book on which it is based, tells the story of a brother and a sister left alone in their house, where they suffer a home invasion by an enormous talking cat who proceeds to demolish, and later repair, everything in the building. Welch, however, complicates this story with a number of subplots, including a party to be held by the children's mother, a nefarious neighbor, and a pathetic, sleeping baby-sitter.

While it does have the odd appealing quality, The Cat in the Hat is, far more often, just painful to watch. Many of the film's set designs, for instance, are impressive and delightful, resembling places depicted in Dr. Seuss' books. Others are, unfortunately, dull and ordinary. Sadly, the acting is never likely to impress the viewer and ranges from mediocre to dreadful. Mike Myers' portrayal of the Cat is particularly painful. He appears to be motivated by a belief that when portraying an exaggerated character one needs to act in an exaggerated way. The film could easily have been more entertaining had Myers approached the role in a serious manner. Instead, he finds himself endlessly amusing, and a person who laughs at his own jokes is rarely funny.

The Cat in the Hat is tedious, humorless, and frequently annoying. The predictable story is burdened with the extraneous moralizing common to many films aimed at children. Myers' portrayal of the Cat is horrifically grating, and, while the other characters may not be as irritating, they are far from engaging. The film is completely uninspired and entirely forgettable. In fact, there is hardly an element in it that has not been seen elsewhere dozens of times before.

Review by Keith Allen

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