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The Cat in the Hat

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Caught this on cable one day when I needed a break. I had heard bad things about it when it was in the theatre. And my mom took my nephew and nieces to it and said it wasn't very good.

I really like Mike Myers' humor. Even his movies that don't really appeal to me. But his style doesn't fit Dr. Seuss very well at all. Especially in his choices for this movie. He took on a style very similar to Charles Nelson Reilly. And the pauses for his laughter just aren't Seuss.

Right off the bat, they broke from the book by opening the movie at the mom's workplace. (Played by Kelly Preston, yummy.) A totally unnecessary piece of "realism." They did try to make it over-the-top. Lots of pastels, super-clean, comic bookish. And it was cartoonish, but like The Grinch, this new dialogue was entirely unSeussish.

Then, they went home and stepped completely out of character. They gave the mom a slimey boyfriend who a few minutes later went on to be even disgusting.

Eventually they got the Cat in the movie. I didn't read the book enough times to remember the text precisely, but I didn't hear anything that struck a chord. Well, maybe the fish had a couple of lines. I do know the Cat's entrance was different than the book. And they threw in a lot of contemporary humor, like making the kids sign a contract. He "tested" them for how fun they were, and it took too long.

They kept diverging from the book. They had a babysitter who slept through everything. They had some sort of Pandora's Box. They left the house and drove around town in a wild car. They spent time in an alternate universe. A bunch of stuff that

They did include Thing 1 and Thing 2, but even those just didn't work. It was partly a case of real-life physics blowing the timing. But they also threw in more humor that didn't fit.

Actually, they did a pretty good job using the special effects to combat real-life physics. It only showed up a few times.

But just over and over again, I was jarred by the timing of the jokes.  Some of the visuals were good and I wanted to hear Dr. Seuss dialogue.

And it just wasn't there.

On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Cable with Dinner. Another Seuss disappointment.

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Last modified: December 11, 2004
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