The Fish in the Bowl
The Cat in the Hat
Review by Ross Anthony

Prior to the screening, three fellow critics engaged in a conversation expressing the negativity they'd heard and/or read regarding this film. Additionally, I did find the theater surprisingly less attended than I'd anticipated. Hence, coupled with a somewhat stiff looking poster, my overall expectations for "Cat in the Hat" sunk a notch or two. But, all for naught, or perhaps because of that, I enjoyed the film just fine anyway.

From the homage animated title sequence to the storybook set, the picture draws the viewer into its caricature world soon to be invaded by the Cat in the Hat (Myers). But what makes the production work so well is that it doesn't rely on the whit and spark of Myers. At every turn collaborating talented folks bring tidbits of fun and humor. Sean Hayes voices the fish marvelously (his offerings are at least as good as Myers'). Alec Baldwin unabashedly nails his role as mother's two-faced boyfriend. He's such a good sport. The kids and all onscreen talent conspire along with the set designers, director, scripters, animators, and editors to create a fun filled experience for kids and some open-minded adults.

As for Myers, I have a huge amount of respect for his work, but here he is only slightly above average. The Cat's main voice seems to be an impression of the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz -- can't explain exactly why -- but that bothers me. However, his make-up and live-action design work exceptionally well, despite my expectations given the poster. Additionally, his overall mood nails the spirit of the book -- a stranger, enticingly interesting, alluringly odd, a grown-up bent on fun -- but with always that element of danger, menace. Sean Haye's "voice of reason" fish counters the Cat perfectly. I absolutely love when he (the fish) takes a breath before diving back into the water. In fact, nearly every flash to screen time of the fish, holds a funny zinger -- "Oh, My Cod!"

That said, the biggest fault of the film lies in the third thing -- the box. The first two things, thing one and thing two, are both well realized, both fun and both scary. But the third thing, the box; its purple CGI ooze falls short, takes us out of the story as does its full culmination -- which doesn't seem to be more than an excuse to plug an amusement park ride. Yes, funny for a second, that the Cat fezzes up to that crime, nonetheless, this extended plug takes a large toll on the integrity of the picture.

Interestingly enough, filmmakers wanted the fish to be a combination of Felix Unger (Odd Couple) and Barney Fife (Andy Griffith Show). Which I find very amusing, since Don Knotts (Fife), once had done a full feature movie in which he becomes a fish (The Incredible Mr. Limpett).



  • Dr. Seuss' The Cat in The Hat. Copyright © 2003.
  • Starring Mike Myers, Alec Baldwin, Kelly Preston, Dakota Fanning, Spencer Breslin, Amy Hill.
  • Directed by Bo Welch.
  • Screenplay by Alec Berg, Jeff Schaffer, David Mandel.
  • Based on the book by Dr. Seuss.
  • Produced by Brian Grazer at Universal/DreamWorks/Imagine.



Grade (Adults)...........................B+ (2.5/4)
Grade (Kids).............................A- (3/4)



Copyright © 1998-2012 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.


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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:13:26 PDT