Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary with actor Alec
Baldwin and director Bo Welch; Deleted scenes; Outtakes; The Cat.
The Fish. The Music; Seussville U.S.A. The Real Dr Seuss; The
S.L.O.W. The Kids. The Cat Stacks; The Mother Of All Messes; Dance-along
With The Cat.
HAVING been nominated for eight Razzies
for worst film, at the annual alternatives to the Oscars, and
after attracting innumerable bad reviews when it opened in America
before Christmas, I entered The Cat in the Hat screening with
a great deal of trepidation, worried that another of Dr Seuss
classic childrens tales had been ruined.
The Grinch, especially, still haunts my memories, given the saccharine-coated
overload it delivered a few years ago, despite the best efforts
of Jim Carrey in the title role.
Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I emerged afterwards, having
quite enjoyed The Cat in the Hat.
While certainly not great, the film is a pleasant enough breeze
through a literary classic, which delivers enough laughs to keep
both the children and adults amused.
It also clocks in at a fairly trim 80-odd minutes, which means
that it doesnt outstay its welcome.
The principal reason for its success, however, lies in the casting
of Mike Myers as the titular cat, whose comic repertoire is given
a considerable workout, as he bids to teach two disaster-prone
children how to have fun, properly, while also reminding them
of the benefits of looking out for each other, and being a good
Myers is a blast, clearly revelling in the opportunity to play
a role he has sought his whole life, and throwing in plenty of
sly nods to the adults, while dealing with the visceral gags for
Think of Dr Evil in a cat-suit, and you might get somewhere close
to what to expect, although Myers does enough to suggest that
he isnt merely transferring one comic persona to another.
He is a furry bundle of energy, and helps to elevate what could
have become a colourful, but drab, family movie, to something
worth seeing if you are stuck for some way to keep the kids amused
during the school holidays.
Alec Baldwin, too, appears to be having fun, as Quinn, a smarmy
next door neighbour with designs on the childrens mother
(Kelly Preston), while the kids themselves (played by Spencer
Breslin and Dakota Fanning) just about manage to stay the right
side of precocious, despite some seriously dodgy moments early
In book form, Theodore S Geisels story has remained on
the Top 10 best-selling hardcover childrens list since it
was originally published, in 1957, and while it may be difficult
to understand why - given the multitude of gags surrounding bodily
functions in the film - it certainly remains an enjoyable romp,
with a simple story to tell.
Credit, too, deserves to go to director, Bo Welch (the three-time
Oscar nominated film production designer behind the likes of Beetlejuice,
Edward Scissorhands and both Men in Black movies), for laying
off the schmaltz, and allowing Myers to take centre stage, and
the gags to come thick and fast.
And while the end product may be strictly juvenile, it should
have the little ones purring with delight, and is no way near
the cat-astrophe some of the US notices have suggested. Hats off
to Myers, then, for pulling this Cat out of the bag.