Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat is a 2003 American musical comedy fantasy film based on the 1957 Children's Book of the same name. The film was produced by Brian Grazer and directed by Bo Welch and stars Mike Myers in the title role, with Spencer Breslin, Dakota Fanning, Alec Baldwin, Kelly Preston, and Sean Hayes in supporting roles.
While the basic plot of the live-action adaptation of The Cat in the Hat rotates around that of the book, the film filled out its 82 minutes by adding new subplots, rhymes and characters quite different from those of the original story, similar to How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The film was universally panned, with criticism towards its innuendos, adult-themed humor, inappropriate jokes, script, lack of originality, and characters while the overall visual aspects, and David Newman's musical score were mostly praised, and was nominated for eight Razzie Awards, including only one win. Also, the film managed to gross only $133 million worldwide on a $109 million budget, causing it to become the first Dr. Seuss film adaptation to be a box-office bomb.
When single mother Joan Walden is called back to work, she hires a babysitter to watch her kids, Conrad and Sally. Conrad, a twelve-year-old boy, is constantly doing the exact opposite of what he is supposed to do and causing trouble, and Sally, Conrad's eight-year-old little sister, tries to stop his trouble making and is rather bossy. Their next door neighbor, Lawrence (Larry) Quinn is dating Joan and suggests that Conrad should be sent to a military school to straighten him out.
When Joan leaves, their babysitter, Mrs. Kwan, falls asleep in front of the T.V. Not long after, it starts to rain outside and the children get bored. They then hear a bump somewhere in the house, and as the children go investigate, The Cat in the Hat appears. Once the cat introduces himself what he is there to do the Fish starts talking, arguing about him being here. The Cat convinces Conrad and Sally to sign a contract which will allow them to have all the fun they want, and nothing bad will happen. They both sign the contract and then The Cat goes in the living room, but Conrad and Sally tell him that their mom ordered them to stay out of there or else. He then makes the couch bouncy like a trampoline. Then he jumps on it, convincing the kids to jump with him, but their fun is cut short when Larry comes in the house and catches the kids jumping on the couch cushions. The Cat is hiding on the ceiling but when he gets itchy, his fur falls on Larry resulting in making Larry sneeze uncontrollably and resulting in him leaving. When Sally wants to bake cupcakes, the Cat puts on a chef apron and spawns two clones, a host Cat an audience Cat, and put on a cooking show to present the Kupkake-inator. When the chef Cat accidentally chops off his tail, the audience and host Cats cease to exist, and he bandages his wounded tail. Eventually, they make cupcakes out of everything in the kitchen, but the cupcakes explode causing a large, purple gooey mess. Then the family goldfish, named "Karlos K. Krinklebine" (a.k.a. Mr. Krinkelbein), comes out of the toilet & sees the mess of the purple gooey mess & he swears & he falls of the toilet & lands on the floor he says oof Of landing & he screams. The Cat tries to clean up the mess with Joan's dress, much to the horror of Conrad and Sally. The Cat then brings in a large red crate, opens it, and releases Thing 1 and Thing 2. Conrad is eager to open the crate again, but the Cat explains that the crate is a transport to his own world, known as the Trans-dimensional Transportolator, and he warns him not to open it; he then locks the crate.
As Thing 1 and Thing 2 proceed to wreck the house, Conrad goes against the Cat's rules and sneakily opens the crate. The lock ends up on the collar of his dog, Nevins. Thing 1 and Thing 2 then throw Nevins out the window. Sally fusses over the state of the house, but The Cat warns them that they have more important things to worry about: if they do not get the lock off of Nevin’s collar and back on the crate, they will see "the mother of all messes". The trio puts Mrs. Kwan on top the crate to buy them some time, and chase after Nevins. Meanwhile, Larry is revealed to be a rude, disgusting, smelly (with poor personal hygiene), unemployed slob who is too lazy to work for a living, and the only reason he wants to marry Joan is so that he can mooch off of her. He sees Nevins running down the street and seizes the opportunity to try to frame Conrad for being unable to take care of Nevins, just as the TV he is watching is being repossessed by a trio of Repo men, for not paying it since it was overdue and his credit card has expired.
They end up at the birthday party Sally wasn't invited to; Cat disguises himself as a piñata at the birthday party, kids hit him with plastic bats, and then a boy with a big wooden bat orders them to move out of his way. Conrad predicts that it can't end well and Cat frantically raises a white flag but the boy stands behind him and hits the bat directly into The Cat's groin. The Cat screams for 10 seconds, then he goes into a mental state imagining himself as a woman swinging on a swing while wearing a milk maid outfit. It cuts back to him screaming with his eyes widened and he howls in pain and Conrad throws candy on the ground for the kids.
Larry grabs Nevins and heads for Joan's office. Conrad, Sally and the Cat catch up to Larry in a vehicle called the Super Luxurious Omnidirectional Whatchamajigger (SLOW), formerly known as the Super Hydraulic Instantaneous Transporter, which ends up being destroyed in a crash as they get there. The Cat then tricks him into handing over Nevins and the crab lock by disguising himself as a hippie animal rights activist and making him sign a petition with a large, over-sized pen that requires two hands. Having lost Nevins, Larry goes to Joan and tells her about her children's behavior. Remembering that the Things always do the opposite of whatever they are told, Conrad is able to get them to help them get home, and stall Joan and Larry, by telling them not to do either. While The Things distract Joan and Larry, the trio get back home, unaware that Mrs. Kwan has fallen off the crate to answer a phone call from Joan and that all terror is breaking loose as the crate erupts. It releases big purple oozebubbles all around which makes the whole house alive. The oozebubbles effect all of the things that are inside the house, making them move, like the walls, the pictures on the walls, the couches, the chairs, the windows, the tables, the lamps, the doorways, the fireplace, the bookshelves, the plants, the flowers, -- everything including the floor and all the purple cupcake mix that is splattered on the walls. They don't seem to effect Mrs. Kwan sleeping on the couch, but they do however lift her up with the couch moving itself, and without her even noticing since she's still sleeping. A determined Larry decides to run to the house and tells Joan to meet him there. When Larry catches the kids at the doorway and takes them to the house, the Cat reappears. Larry stumbles backwards while sneezing, only to fall from a high cliff into the Cat's world and into an ocean of purple ooze.
The kids are surprised at what has become of the house, being the "mother of all messes", just as the Cat had warned before. They finally find the crate after passing through the Cat's world, it forms a giant purple tornado twister that sucks up all kinds of objects such as bikes, chairs, teapots, teddy bears, everything, including Sally, she accidentally gets sucked into the tornado after trying to close it with Conrad, and one of her pigtails come apart, Sally almost gets sucked away until Conrad stands on top of the crate reaching her hand, he tries to put the lock back, but he can't do it at the same time while holding on to Sally, Conrad confesses with her that he can't reach the lock, and the only way he can save her life is to let go of each other so that he can quickly put the lock back on the crate as fast as he can. They successfully close it, and the tornado disappears, making the house return back to normal, but then suddenly collapses. The kids berate the Cat for not fixing things. He confesses that he planned the entire day (with the exception of cutting his tail off) and he even knew Conrad would open the crate because he couldn't resist. Dismayed, he states that he thought they wanted to have fun, and Conrad angrily tells him that he was right: "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how" and that he doesn't know when enough is enough. The Cat then sadly leaves, Sally suggests that Conrad should get out of the house until their mother "calms down" but Conrad declines and decides to take the blame for the day's events his selfishness has caused to the house. Sally decides to share the blame with him, since it was as much her fault as Conrad's, and admits that he is a good brother. Just when it looked like all hope was lost forever, much to their surprise, The Cat comes back with Thing 1 and Thing 2 and a cleaning machine called the Dynamic Industrial Renovating Tractormajigger (DIRT). He explains that, when Conrad opened the crate, the contract was rendered null and void, thus explaining why bad things happened contrary to prior agreement. However, he then explains that it would be reinstated if Sally and Conrad have learned from their mistakes.
They clean up the mess, and the house is clean and put back to normal, much to the relief of the kids, who then thank the Cat for everything. The Cat and the Things leave through the back door, just in time for Joan to come home. Mrs. Kwan wakes up and tells Joan that the children were "angels" - she doesn't know anything about what happened because she was sound asleep the whole time. But then Larry barges in, covered in purple goo and starts telling Joan about the mess and the Cat's world, and then begins to antagonize the kids (specifically Conrad) but Joan states that even though Conrad is a trouble maker, he isn't a bad kid. Not believing Larry (as the Cat already cleaned the house before her arrival), Joan declines his proposal of marriage and instead sends him away for his actions, much to the disappointment of Larry but much to Conrad and Sally's delight. The party goes as scheduled; Joan carries a tray of purple cupcakes, and Sally tells her, "You can make cupcakes out of anything." Joan asks Conrad and Sally what they really did while she was gone. After the party, Conrad, Sally and Joan jump on the couch that still has the bounce that The Cat did in the living room. The film ends with a shot of the Cat and the Things walking away on the street into the sunset and they were thinking of going on a weeks vacation to Hawaii.
- Mike Myers as The Cat In The Hat
- Kelly Preston as Miss Joan Walden
- Alec Baldwin as Lawrence "Larry" Quinn
- Spencer Breslin as Conrad Walden
- Dakota Fanning as Sally Walden
- Sean Hayes as Mr. Hank Humberfloob / Voice of The Fish
- Amy Hill as Mrs. Kwan
- Curtis Persons as Thing One
- Forrest Quilliams as Thing Two
- Dan Castellaneta as the voices of Thing One and Two
- Steven Anthony Lawrence as Schweitzer
- Paris Hilton as Female Club-Goer
- Frank Welker as the voice of Nevins the Dog
- Candace Brown as Secretary
- Victor Brandt as Narrator
- Daran Norris as Announcer
Tim Allen was originally planned to play the role of the Cat, but dropped out at the last minute, since Allen was filming for The Santa Clause 2, and the role went to Mike Myers. Also, Spencer Breslin appeared in both The Cat in the Hat and The Santa Clause 2.
The Cat in the Hat received overwhelmingly negative reviews, getting a 9% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an average grade of D+ from critics in the interpretation of Yahoo's film website. On Metacritic, the film scored 19 out of 100 based on 37 reviews, indicating "overwhelming dislike."
A characteristic evaluation was that of Ty Burr, writing in the Boston Globe: "The big-screen Cat represents everything corrupt, bloated, and wrong with mainstream Hollywood movies." A number of critics also said that the MPAA should have given the film a restrictive PG-13 rating in relation to its high amount of adult content.
The film only managed to recoup $101 million of its $109 million budget domestically at the box office; an additional $32 million from foreign countries brought the films total box office revenue to $133 million, making it a box-office bomb.
Awards and nominations
The Cat in the Hat was nominated for eight Razzie Awards, including Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Mike Myers), Worst Supporting Actor (Alec Baldwin), Worst Supporting Actress (Kelly Preston), Worst Director, Worst Screenplay and Worst Screen Couple (Myers and either Thing One or Thing Two), winning one for Worst Excuse for an Actual Movie (All Concept/No Content). As a result of frequent mature themes, Audrey Geisel, the widow of Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel (who holds the rights to his work) declared that there are to be no more live-action movies based on the works of Dr. Seuss, arguing that the film has clearly deviated from her late husband's family-friendly work.
- All the houses in Anville are the same.
- In the background of the scene at Mr. Humberfloob's office, one of the workers is played by Barack Obama. He is a close personal friend of Mike Myers and happened to be on set that day.
- The Phunometer is a reference to Mary Poppins's tape measure.
- The sound that the inside of the crate makes is tuvan throat-singing, according to the director's commentary.
- Even though David Newman composed the film's score, the trailer of the movie credited Marc Shaiman instead.
- Though the Cat said he's a six foot tall cat, when they were doing the contract, if you pause the movie at the right time, the paper says he is 5 foot 8. (Although, he could have just been rounding off his height to the nearest whole number or, maybe, lying about his height to seem taller than he really is).
- The crate releases purple ooze bubbles floating and permeating all around the house, turning & making it alive. The crate is in the living room, but it's briefly seen beside where Mrs. Kwan's sleeping -- and where the TV is -- as the bubbles surround her.
- Cat and The Things fix and clean up the whole house, saving Conrad and Sally from ending up in military school, and they finish up the task on time before their mother gets back, but there are still some purple cupcake mix splatters on the kitchen walls when he sucks up Joan's dress with his D.I.R.T. machine, cleans it and shoots it back into the closet. When the crate shrinks to a tiny size after Thing One and Thing Two go back inside of it, there are still some purple cupcake mix splatters on the side wall of the living room doorway too.
- When the movie begins, it shows the city of Anville from the top of a hill; it looks a bit smaller from high up, and the houses aren't seen from the view, but directly in Anville, it's kind-of bigger - plus the neighborhood with the houses that are located on Liplapper Lane.
- When the view starts panning from the inside of Humberfloob Real Estate's building to a bird's-eye view of Liplapper Lane, the cars on the street are unmoving for a few seconds.
Illumination Entertainment was going to make a CGI remake after the commercial success of The Lorax. In January 2021, it was announced that Warner Animation Group would be making the movie. In October, they announced that the movie would be released in 2024, along with a spin off starring Thing One and Thing Two in 2026.