December 01, 2003 12:00 PM

The Cat in the Hat

Mike Myers, Dakota Fanning, Spencer Breslin, Kelly Preston, Alec Baldwin

The 3-year-old sitting on my lap during a showing of this disastrously gussied-up film adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ beloved children’s book turned to me only twice to point out enthusiastically, “That from the book.” It’s not as if my wee companion doesn’t know his Cat in the Hat—it’s among his favorite bedtime texts. But so much of the movie is given over to the look-at-me, showbizzy antics of Myers (almost unrecognizable under all the fur and whiskers as the Cat) that the anarchic magic of the original is lost. This Cat becomes The Mike Myers Show (complete with his Carmen Miranda imitation), which isn’t nearly as clever an act as The Jim Carrey Show proved in 2000’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the last Seuss classic to reach the big screen.

Other than Myers, the movie is all about eye-popping production design, which overwhelms Cat‘s-itsy-bitsy story. If there’s a fluorescent hue unrepresented in this movie, whack me silly with a black light. (PG)


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