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For more movie summaries, see Kam's Kapsules.

(Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon, © Universal Studios and DreamWorks LLC. All rights reserved.)

photo caption:

AMAZING D.I.R.T. MACHINE: The Cat (Mike Myers, left) shows off his ingenious D.I.R.T. (Dynamic Industrial Renovating Tractormajigger) machine to Conrad (Spencer Breslin, center) and Sally (Dakota Fanning, right).

end caption.nd of caption


The Cat in the Hat: Mike Myers Vulgarizes Dr. Seuss' Beloved Children's Classic

Kam Williams

Picture Austin Powers in a cat costume making off-color comments to a couple of cute kids and you have a decent idea of what to expect of The Cat in the Hat. The late Dr. Seuss must be spinning in his grave because such an undignified screen version of his beloved children's classic has been foisted on the unsuspecting public. Fault Bo Welch, who tapped a trio of first-time writers to help him adapt the 220-word book into in a feature film. Welch makes a dismal directorial debut here, exhibiting an utter disdain for the tenor and tone of the source material.

The upshot is that we're left with a Mike Myers vehicle which is as inappropriate for impressionable children as it is boring for adolescents and offensive to adults. Never funny, The Cat in the Hat trades mostly in the cliches of your typical, gross out teensploit; bodily function jokes, profanity, double entendres, and ethnic humor. Holding court at the center of every scene is the irrepressible Mr. Myers, barely concealed by the gaudy get-up and gooey mask make-up.

This story still revolves around a couple of ostensibly home alone siblings, Sally (Dakota Fanning) and Conrad (Spencer Breslin) whose babysitter, Mrs. Kwan (Amy Hill), has been rendered unconscious. But, once the Cat suddenly appears, this version reduces the pair to supporting roles where they mug for the camera in a series of shock reaction shots in response to the Cat's increasingly outrageous behavior. For example, when his magical hat elongates and stiffens after he gets aroused while leering lecherously at a provocative picture of their mother (Kelly Preston).

When not cursing or insulting Asians with lines like, "No lookee, no touchee!" the movie wastes time alluding to films like American Beauty and Midnight Cowboy ("I'm walking here!"). Lines like "I can't believe you pissed on my taco," and "He drinks where he pisses!" leave little to the imagination and a lot to be desired, when it comes to kiddie fare. A purple zoot-suited Alec Baldwin looks like he wandered in off the set of a Superfly remake in his cameo capacity as Quinn, the Mom's kid-hating suitor who wants to ship Conrad off to a military school 8 hours away.

This is Myers show, and he plays the frenetic title character as a cross between Bert Lahr's Cowardly Lion and Carrot Top of the 1-800-Call-ATT ads. The trash-talking feline is little more than a wisecracking, stand-up comedian intent on contributing to the delinquency of minors. Although he can make many vulgar overtures, he no longer can rhyme, which was a prime selling point of the Dr. Seuss easy-to-read primer. Unless you are prone to laugh at endless urination, expectoration, regurgitation, defecation, flatulence, and belching, avoid this rip-off at all costs.

Poor (0 stars). Rated PG (but deserved a PG-13) for crude humor, double-entendres, and periodic profanity.

end of review.

For more movie summaries, see Kam's Kapsules.


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