The Cat in the Hat

By Garth Franklin
The Cat in the Hat

"The Grinch" was admittedly bad but had its few merits with some nice adult subtext humour and a somewhat silly spirit. No such stuff to be found in 'Cat', the second adaptation of arguably Seuss' most famous book. Like 'Grinch' its an explosion of insanely elaborate production design done in a way to bring the wacky world to life although this feels like it was done for quite a lesser budget. There's silly visuals, funky pastels and CG-enhanced environs and creatures (like a talking fish) which are totally unnecessary but have been thrown in to fill in time.

Myers does his usual schtick which becomes quite old - fast, especially as its restrained to being relatively clean with the odd exception. The kids are fine, especially gorgeous young Dakota Fanning whose packing a lot of talent for someone so young. Alec Baldwin has a great part as the purple-wearing suitor to the family's mother who wants to not only ship off the young boy to military school, but has a distinct and not-so-subtle gay subtext about him.

It all combines in a big mess of a movie about a cat who wants to mess up a house. So much of this is straining to find something...anything to do with these characters and most of the time they don't succeed. In the middle act there's the odd moment of fun but its muddled by an all too long setup and an overly CG ending which felt like something out of the last (and far superior) "Spy Kids" movie.

Is there anything redeeming? Myers does have one moment which spoofs infomercials that did give me a laugh. Likewise every now and then there's a darkly fun bit such as after being turned into a pinata, the kids have to hold him back from bashing their neighbour's kid with a baseball bat. Two laughs do not make a film though, especially when the rest of it is so dire. 'Cat' was always one of my fave books as a kid but I'm glad I'm an adult now as the pain of watching my childhood raped has been dulled a little.