Ever since I saw Wayne's World for the first time when I was 5, I have been drinking the Kool-Aid of Mike Myers. Everything he does, I have enjoyed on one level or another, be it actually funny (So I Married an Axe Murderer) or unexplainably (The Love Guru...I know, shut up). This week on Watch This!, this Mike Myers movie belongs to the actually funny category, although if you ask someone besides me, they will probably say otherwise. I present to you the 2003 film The Cat in the Hat!
I'm sure you've read the story; Dr. Seuss was an integral part of the growing up process back in the days before the internet and television took over the parent's job to raise their kids. In case you haven't, it's pretty much a giant talking Cat (in a Hat) coming to a house and wrecking havoc with two little scamps, in rhyme of course.

This film is the same thing, with a few tweaks: Mike Myers plays the Cat, who sounds like Linda Richman from his SNL days, who visits the house of Sally (Dakota Fanning) a goody two shoes and her mischevous little brother Conrad (Spencer Breslin before people cared about his sister more) while their mother (Kelly Preston) is off at work. While she's gone, the three raise a considerable amount of havoc, and Conrad ends up opening a box that causes the house (and their world to a lesser extent) to go into chaos. It's up to the three to fix it before Mom comes home, all the while also trying to thwart her evil new boyfriend Quinn (Alec "I'm Awesome" Baldwin) who is trying to expose them and send Conrad to military school.

The Cat in the Hat is a short film, with a runtime of only 82 minutes (if you include the credits). It makes sense, considering the shortness of the source material. However, these are some entertaining 82 minutes. I'll admit I did not expect anything from this movie, choosing to see it on a day when I was so bored I just needed to get out of the house. Cat in the Hat not only beat my expectations, it slit its jugular and drank from the wound.

Cat in the Hat plays like the inside of an ADHD child's mind: it's fast-paced and goes from joke to joke with little to no recovery time. That's the charm though; with it's short running time, it packs so much in that there isn't a dull moment in the movie. Once the Cat appears, it's a roller coaster ride of insanity that will surprisingly have you laughing at a bunch of different points.

The humor itself is way too adult for children and if they had the balls to make it PG-13, they could have stretched it into a movie that probably would have done better. Since this is based off a kid's book, it is rightfully assumed to be a kid's movie. No dice. While I'm sure some kids probably dug the pratfalls or some of the jokes, most of it is aimed to an older crowd. There's jokes about murder strewed through out the film, as well as little quips (some you heard in that trailer) Myers says that children have not developed enough to understand yet. I, however, understood it and it made the film that much more delightful for me. I love a kid's movie with balls, and this had some.

The addition of Alec Baldwin's greedy boyfriend character was kind of forced, but in order to flesh out a movie, it needed to be done. Plus, Baldwin is awesome in everything ever, so having him in the film can't hurt it, it can only help.

This fell victim, in my uninformed opinion, to people's love of the source material. Like Batman and Robin, people could not accept a different version of their beloved character and chose to hate it rather than accept that things can change and for movie purposes, things needed to be re-arranged. Like B and R, I could give a crap about the source material since it was entertaining and funny enough for me to like.

The Cat in the Hat doesn't suck. If you like Myers' other stuff, you should check this out, you may be surprised. And even though I like it for reasons unknown to me...skip The Love Guru. In fact, forget I ever said anything about it.

Rent on Netflix, Buy on Amazon!

-Jonathan Sullivan

 


Comments

10/25/2010 01:26

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