The Cat in the Hat is a 2003 American comedy family film loosely based on the 1957 book of the same name by Dr. Seuss. It was produced by Brian Grazer and directed by Steven Spielberg, and stars Mike Myers in the title role of the Cat in the Hat, and Dakota Fanning as Sally. Sally's brother, who is not named in the book, is known in this version as "Conrad" and played by Spencer Breslin.
While the basic plot of the live-action adaptation of The Cat in the Hat revolves around that of the book, the film filled out its 82 minutes by adding new subplots and characters quite different from those of the original story, similar to How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. Reviews were critically negative criticizing the film's crude humor and mature content, and the film was nominated for eight Golden Raspberry Awards.
This is the second film Universal Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures and Imagine Entertainment worked on together, with the first being A Beautiful Mind. Although David Newman composed the film score, the trailer credited Marc Shaiman by mistake.
When John Walden (Kelly Preston) is called back to work, she gets a sleepy baby-sitter to baby-sit her kids, Conrad (Spencer Beslin) and Sally (Dakota Fanning). Conrad, a twelve-year-old boy, has two problems: he is constantly doing the exact opposite of what he is supposed to do and causing trouble, and Sally, Conrad's seven-year-old little sister, tries to stop his trouble making and is being rather bossy and perfect. Their next door neighbor, Lawrence "Larry" Quinn (Alec Baldwin) dreams of marrying Joan for her wealth, and sending Conrad away to a military school to straighten up his behavior. When Joan leaves, their baby-sitter, Mrs. Kwan (Amy Hill), falls asleep. Not long after, it starts to rain outside and the children get bored. But then there is a thud somewhere in the house, and as the children go investigate, the Cat in the Hat (Mike Myers) appears. Once the cat introduces what he is there to do the Fish starts talking, arguing about him being here. The Cat ignores the Fish and then convinces Conrad and Sally to sign a contract which will allow them to have all the fun they want, and will stop anything bad happening.
When they make cupcakes out of everything in the kitchen, the cupcakes explode causing a large, purple gooey mess. 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, but the Cat explains that the crate is a transport to his own world, and warns him not to open it and puts a lock on the crate. Conrad goes against the Cats rules and sneakily opens the crate. The lock ends up on his dog, Nevins' collar. Thing 1 and 2 then throw Nevin 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 put the lock back on the crate, they will be in the middle of "the mother of all messes". The trio puts the babysitter on the crate, to buy some time, and chase after Nevins.
Meanwhile, Larry is revealed to be a disgusting, unemployed and it is also revealed that he is waiting to marry Joan for her money. He sees Nevins running through 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. Larry grabs Nevins and heads for Joan's office. Conrad, Sally, and the Cat manage to get Nevins back by catching up with a vehicle called the Super Luxurious Omnidirectional Whatchamajigger (SLOW) and tricking Larry into handing over Nevins and the crab lock by making him sign a petition about a Zumzizaroo. While The Things distract Joan and Larry, the trio get back home, unaware that the babysitter has fallen off the crate to answer a phone call from Joan and that all terror is breaking loose as the crate erupts. An obsessed 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, due to being allergic to cats, only to fall from a high cliff into the Cat's world, surprising the kids at what has become of the house, being "the mother of all messes", just as the Cat warned before.
As they finally find the crate, after passing trough the Cat's world, successfully closing it, and the house returns to normal, but then suddenly collapses. The kids berate the Cat for not fixing things, despite that he was not responsible for the mess. He admits that he planned the entire day, so the kids order him to leave. He comes back with Thing 1 and Thing 2 and a cleaning machine called the Dynamic Industrial Renovating Tractormajigger (DIRT). They clean up the mess, and the house is clean and put back together, much to the kids' relief. The Cat and the Things then leave the house, just in time for Joan to come home. Mrs. Kwan wakes up and tells Joan that the children were "angels", which she does not know anything that happened because she was sound asleep the whole time. But then Larry barges in, covered from head to toe with purple slime and starts telling Joan about the mess and the Cat's world. Not believing Larry (as the house has already been cleaned), Joan declines his proposal of marriage and instead sends him away, much to Larry's distraught and Conrad and Sally's delight. The party goes as scheduled. The film ends with a shot of the Cat and the Things walking away on the street in the sunset.
- Mike Myers as The Cat in the Hat, a giant, anthropomorphic, wise-cracking cat. His hat has many magical abilities. The Cat in the Hat is the main protagonist.
- Alec Baldwin as Larry Quinn, the Walden's pompous next-door neighbor who is determined to both marry Joan for her money and get rid of Conrad by sending him to military school. Larry Q. is the true main antagonist.
- Kelly Preston as Joan Walden, a real-estate agent and Conrad and Sally's mother.
- Dakota Fanning as Sally Walden, Joan's dull and strict daughter.
- Spencer Breslin as Conrad Walden, Joan's destructive and misbehaved son.
- Sean Hayes as Mr. Hank Humberfloob, Joan's germophobic boss and the voice of The Fish, The Waldens' pet fish.
- Amy Hill as Mrs. Kwan, an eldery lady who's hired to watch the kids. Her weight serves as a running gag.
- Dan Castellaneta as the voices of Thing One and Two, two gibbering creatures the Cat brings with him.
- Richard Hunt as Schweitzer
- Judy Hilton as Female Club-Goer
- Frank Welker as the voice of Nevins, The Waldens' pet dog.
- Candance Brown as Secretary, works for Humberfloob.
- Victor Brandt as the Narrator, who tells the story. Revealed to be the Cat using a false voice at the end.
- Daran Norris as Announcer
- Clint Howard as Kate the Caterer