The Cat in the Hat is a 2003 film adaptation to the book of the same name, with the titular character portrayed by Mike Myers. In this version, the kids Conrad (Spencer Breslin) and Sally (Dakota Fanning) are helping their mother, Joan (Kelly Preston), get ready for a party thrown for her office in hopes of impressing her boss, though Conrad is presented to be something of a trouble maker and at odds with with Joan. Not helping the familial situation is a sleazy neighbor, Lawrence Quinn (Alec Baldwin), whose doting on Joan and tries to convince her to send Conrad off to military school while he tries to gain an easy life.Joan soon sets off for work, leaving the kids with nothing to do until the titular Cat shows up to bring them some fun. But things quickly escalate out of hand, especially when the Cat pull out his crate and tells Conrad never to open it. Naturally Conrad doesn't listen and things go From Bad to Worse as Lawrence soon gets involved and Conrad, Sally and Cat have to fix up the mess before their mother gets home.While it did well at the box-office (thanks to recognition from previous live action film How the Grinch Stole Christmas!), it was not well received by critics and fans due to the fact of the inclusion of adult humor that clashed with what was meant to be a family film. Geisel Estate likewise weren't pleased with the result and effectively stopped production of any future live action adaptations. Since then, any works based on Dr. Seuss's stories are now CGI films and strive to be closer to the material.
Adaptation Expansion: Well, there's a dog, Mom's boss demanding that her house be spotlessly clean for a party that night, an evil neighbor (Alec Baldwin) trying to woo Mom and get the boy shipped off to miliary school, the Cat's universe (likely the world of Who) intruding on this one, etc.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "He [Thing 2] says, feel free to call him 'Thing A' if you like. He will also accept 'Super Thing', 'Thing King', 'Kid Dynamite', 'Chocolate Thun-da!'...or 'Ben'."
Bad Boss: Played for laughs with Mr. Humberfloob, Mom's boss, who fires someone for shaking hands with him (and the employees' reactions imply that he's done this before). Not to mention he frequently screams "FIIIIRRRRREEE-D" at them. Even in this story's universe, it's kind of strange that he has any employees.
Batman Gambit: Part of The Cat's plan for the day hinged on Conrad unlocking and opening the crate. The Cat, knowing Conrad to be a serial rule-breaker, specifically told Conrad not to open the crate knowing full well that he'd then be compelled to open it.
"Why do you think I made it my one rule? I knew you couldn't resist."
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Lawrence sets himself up as an ideal, thin, real estate agent and boyfriend, but in reality, he's an unemployed slob with a big gut who just wants to marry Joan for money (because he's about to lose his house). For the first part of the film, only Conrad can see him for what he really is.
Deus ex Machina: At the end of the film, the house has been destroyed, the Cat has left, and Conrad and Sally are left sitting on the stairs waiting for their mother to come home and chastise them. The door opens...and lo and behold, it's the Cat again, with a machine fully capable of repairing the entire house and undoing all the damage caused throughout the film (which it then proceeds to do).
As mentioned above, Humberfloob fires an employee on the spot for shaking his hand.
It's strongly implied Humberfloob is obsessive-compulsive about cleanliness, which would explain this seemingly extreme reaction. He forces his company's employees to hold open houses at their homes, insisting that they be as clean as possible, or else he will fire them.
Sally has ended at least two of her friendships for things such as wanting to be Head Chef when making cupcakes, and talking back to her. And in that case she ordered the other girl to never speak to her again.
Double Entendre: The live-action adaptation was PACKED with them. One of the most prominent being The Cat saying "Dirty ho!" as he throws away a garden hoe.
Everybody Owns A Ford: Specifically a Ford Focus hatchback in Egg Yolk Yellow or a decidedly non-stock lime green, with equally non-stock wheel spats that spoil the car's lines. Doubles as a Product Placement.
Fun with Acronyms: The Cat's vehicle is called the Super Luxurious Omnidirectional Whatchamajigger (S.L.O.W.), formerly the Super Hydraulic Instanteous Transporter (S.H.I.T.).
Gaussian Girl: Played for laughs when The Cat poses as the birthday party piņata and (possibly) loses more than some hidden candy. Beyond the troubling schoolgirl smock and Lionel Richie tune, note the blurry unicorn in the background.
There was this cat I knew, back home where I was bred, He never listened to a single thing his mother said, He never used the litterbox, he made a mess in the hall, That's why they sent him to a vet and they cut off his b- *pauses* ...bo...bo...bo...BOY!
An extreme example is when the Cat's hat is squashed and crooked, but then he looks at a picture of Sally and Conrad's apparently attractive mother, and his hat SHOOTS UP with an audible *BOING* sound!! How did THAT get past?!
When this scene got by, it was clear that the censors weren't even trying anymore.
Groin Attack: The Cat disguises himself as a pinata at a birthday party, kids hit him with plastic bats, and then a bigger kid with a big wooden bat orders them to move out of his way.
Left the Background Music On: In one scene, Sally, Conrad and the Cat are trying to creep up on their dog, who has run off with the movie's MacGuffin, without startling him. Their movements are accompanied by a set of increasingly tense string chords...until Sally and Conrad turn round to see the Cat playing the chords on his whiskers. Actually justified by the Cat:
Medium Awareness / No Fourth Wall: The film is full of these types of jokes, to the point where it almost seems more like a parody of Dr. Seuss than an actual adaptation of his work.
Playing with Syringes: Conversed. One of the suggested treatments for Conrad being a "rule-breaker" and Sally being a "control freak" on the Cat's Phunometer is "a series of painful injections in your abdomen and kneecap."
Cat: No, not really, it's just you two both had options and I wanted to have one as well, hehe...or did I? (Cat plays a dramatic piano chord)
Terrified of Germs: Hank Humberfloob. He forces his employees to wash their hands constantly, and when a new recruit shakes his hand, he fires him on the spot before scrubbing his hands with hand sanitizer. He also requires all employees to hold meet and greets, and if their house isn't clean, they too will be fired. In short, Humberfloob is what one critic calls "the real estate equivalent of Howie Mandel".