At one point in ‘The Cat in the Hat,’ the Cat, played by Mike Myers, is mistaken for a pinata by a group of children at a birthday party. One by one, they line up to smack him, and the scene culminates with a husky lad swinging a baseball bat directly into the unfortunate feline’s cojones.
That’s a remarkably precise metaphor for what this movie does to the memory of Dr. Seuss. If the producers had dug up Ted Geisel’s body and hung it from a tree, they couldn’t have desecrated the man more.
The big-screen ‘Cat’ represents everything corrupt, bloated, and wrong with mainstream Hollywood movies. It takes a slender toddler-classic about the joys of anarchy — a 10-minute bedtime read at best — and pumps it into 73 minutes of state-of-the-art vulgarity. It lets a pampered star get away with doing Austin Powers in a funny suit. It substitutes belches, farts, and splattery computer-generated effects for the good doctor’s low-tech whimsy, and it makes sure there’s enough product placement and soundtrack tie-ins to profitably extend the franchise well into next year.
Boston.com |21 November 2003
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