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Film / The Cat in the Hat

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"Why, I'm the Cat in the Hat!
There's no doubt about that!
I'm a super fundiferous feline,
Who's here to make sure that you're...
'Meline'...'key lime'...'turpentine?' I got nothing. I'm not so good with the rhyming. Not really, no."
The Cat

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 and directed by Bo Welch. This particular adaptation of the book is infamous among Dr. Seuss fans mainly due in part to its rather... interesting humor.

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 employer, though Conrad is presented to be something of a trouble maker and seemed to be at odds with Joan. Not helping the familial situation is a sleazy neighbor, Lawrence Quinn (Alec Baldwin), who is doting on Joan and trying 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 pulls out his crate and tells Conrad never to open it. Naturally Conrad doesn't listen and things go From Bad to Worse as Quinn soon gets involved and Conrad, Sally and Cat have to fix up the mess before their mother gets home.

The film contains examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Cat keeps getting Conrad's name wrong. Even on the contract, he's noted "(AKA Gorman)", which isn't even close to his name. Near the end, he gets Sally's name wrong once as well, calling her Suzie.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Adaptational Badass: The Things. In the book, they were easily captured with nets. In this film, the kids are completely unable to capture them, and at one point capture each other with their nets.
  • Adaptation Expansion: This is based on a 1700-word picture book intended for kindergarteners, after all. For one thing, there's a dog, Mom throwing a house party, a mean neighbor (Alec Baldwin) trying to woo Mom and get the boy shipped off to military school, the Cat's universe (likely the Seuss world of Who) intruding on this one, etc.
  • Adaptational Jerkass:
    • The Cat in the Hat in the book and other Seuss incarnations is mischievous, but he's still a friendly feline with nothing but the best of intentions. This version of the Cat is a perverted, foul-mouthed (though not entirely), wisecracking Jerkass.
    • Since Conrad and Sally didn’t have any characterization in the book or the special and were just regular bored kids who wanted to have fun. Here, the former is a destructive delinquent and the latter is a sycophant control freak who has no friends for petty reasons.
  • Advertised Extra: Unlike in the original book, where the Fish served as the Straight Man to the Cat's antics, he barely serves a role in the movie once the "Fun, Fun, Fun" song number comes to a close. That doesn't stop the Fish from making numerous upfront appearances on movie flyers.
  • Alice Allusion: The Chef Cat is from Cheshire, England.
  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: The Taiwanese Government that Mrs. Kwan watches on TV appears to be composed of nothing but martial arts fighters.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Larry is incredibly determined to marry Joan for the opportunity to give himself an easier lifestyle, as well as get rid of her kids by sending them away. He starts acting callous and bossy towards Joan once his goals look fruitful.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Inverted with the kids. Conrad is the obnoxious irresponsible older sibling while Sally is the reserved controlling sibling.
  • 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'."
  • Artifact of Doom: The Crate is in actuality a portal that links our world to his world, how or why this crate was made in the first place is never explained but we do see it was made in the Philippines although according to the cat "not this Philippines," jury is still out on what the hell that's meant to imply.
  • Balloon Belly:
    • Larry's pops out while he's in his house.
    • The Cat drinks some milk, briefly forgetting that he is lactose intolerant, and experiences a bad bout of gas that causes his belly to inflate into a large, round shape, complete with the literal sound of a balloon being blown up. He is forced to relieve the pressure by letting out a massive belch.
  • Batman Gambit: Most of the Cat's plan for the day hinged on Conrad unlocking and opening the crate. The Cat, knowing Conrad is a compulsive rule-breaker, specifically tells him not to open the crate, knowing he'll then go ahead and do it (which he does). Lampshaded during The Reveal:
    The Cat: Why do you think I made it my one rule? I knew you couldn't resist.
  • Big Bad: Larry Quinn, the family's neighbor who wasn't in the book, plots to marry Joan and have Conrad shipped off to military school.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Larry sets himself up as a handsome, successful salesman, but is a lazy, unemployed slob with a big gut (which he conceals with a corset under his suit) and just wants to marry Joan for money to get himself out of debt. For the first part of the film, only Conrad sees Larry for the sleazy Jerkass that he is. Later, his calling Sally a suck-up when he comes to raid the family’s fridge gets her to realize what an unpleasant jerk he is.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Chef Cat severing part of his tail with a cleaver during the Kupkake-inator scene.
  • Bowdlerize: The Cartoon Network broadcasts of the film shorten the Cat's "Son of a bi-!" line to remove the "bi-" and mute the long Sound-Effect Bleep after he cuts off his tail during the kitchen scene.
  • Brutal Honesty: When Larry catches Sally and Conrad jumping on the couch, Sally puts on an innocent act by saying that she was trying to stop Conrad from misbehaving. Without her mother around, Larry drops his usual sweet tone with Sally and gives her some harsh but not untrue advice.
    Larry: Sally. Angel, princess. I'm gonna let you in on a little secret, okay?... NOBODY LIKES A SUCK-UP!
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Mrs. Kwan, the hopelessly narcoleptic babysitter is constantly abused by the Cat, the children, and Thing One and Thing Two to levels that are just plain psychopathic. They even use her as a boat when the Cat's magic overruns the house. Not that she ever realizes that, mind you.
    • For most of the second half, Larry Quinn is humiliated in various ways. In his final scene, he emerges covered in purple goo and finally shows his pathetic true self to Joan, who breaks up with him.
    • According to Larry, Conrad and Nevins are both seen as this - and they're constant victims of verbal (both of them) and physical (Nevins only) abuse by him.
  • The Cameo: Paris Hilton appears during the rave scene.
  • Cats Are Mean: In great contrast to his depiction in the book, the Cat in this movie is much more mean-spirited and crude.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The contract that the children sign, guaranteeing them "all the fun they want" with no consequences. At the end of the film, the house is destroyed, the Cat has been chased away, and Conrad and Sally are waiting for their mother to arrive home and chastise them... only for the Cat to return, remind them of the contract, and fix everything.
  • The Chessmaster: The Cat. You gotta give credit to a guy who can plan a whole day of mischief and chaos (minus cutting off his tail) just to help two bickering siblings get along and become better people.
  • Child Hater: Larry Quinn, as far as Joan's children are concerned anyway. He hates Conrad because he's a troublemaking Bratty Half-Pint, and wants Joan to send him to military school just to get rid of him.
  • Childish Older Sibling: Conrad and Sally represent opposite extremes of All Work vs. All Play. Sally is an uptight control freak while her older brother, Conrad, is an immature rule-breaker who doesn't think about the consequences of his actions. While both are portrayed as flawed, the film portrays Conrad as the bigger problem as his rule-breaking puts their mother's job in jeopardy.
  • Comically Wordy Contract: The Cat makes Conrad and Sally sign one, guaranteeing them, in his own words, "all the fun they want and nothing bad's ever gonna happen". Plenty of bad things do happen - many of which are the Cat's fault - but at the end of the film, satisfied that the children have undergone enough Character Development, he reminds them of the contract and proceeds to fix all the damage he's done.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: In a deleted scene Larry has his trousers ripped off by a dog, leaving him in purple underpants, much to his embarrassment.
  • Company Cameo: The film has some Product Placement done for Universal Theme Parks. Universal Studios made this movie.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: In a spiritual sense. The Cat in the Hat, without question, differs from the Grinch in personality. The Grinch was a cynical, introverted hermit until his change of heart while the Cat is pretty extroverted and hedonistic. The Cat is also shown to be perverted when he was attracted to the photo of Joan and a female dancer in the rave, while the Grinch is more discreet when he is around Martha May-Whovier. And as the Grinch was paired with Cindy Lou-Who, he wanted nothing to do with her at the start, even when he was forced to save her; during the Cat's time paired with Conrad and Sally, he sticks around and wants to bond with them, yet he brings little to their situation to help them, even when they tried to shut the crate towards the end, especially when Sally was almost sucked into the tornado.
  • Control Freak: Sally is explicitly labeled as one by the Cat's "phunometer." Larry acts like one towards Joan, once he reveals his true nature, as well.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Everything that happened in the film was planned by the Cat, including Nevins being taken by Larry. Except chopping off his own tail; was purely an accident.
  • Curse Cut Short: The Cat's yell of "Son of a bi-!" is cut off by a very loud bleep.
  • Credit Card Plot: Larry's TV set gets repossessed due to missing a payment (and there was a mention he wrote a bad check for it). It doesn't help that the credit card he tried to pay for it had expired.
  • Crippling Castration: A verse Cat sings during the Fun Song- "There was this cat I knew back from where I was bred, he never listened to a single thing his mother said, he never used a litter box, he made a mess in the hall, so they took him to a vet who cut off both his bal- uh... ba- BOY! That wasn't fun."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sally, numerous times throughout the movie. The Cat also gets his share as well, particularly this notable bit:
    Sally: [after the Cat ruins Joan's dress] She was going to wear that tonight and you ruined it!
    The Cat: Honey, it was ruined when she bought it.
    • Sally leans on the more "deadpan" aspect, while the Cat leans more on the "snarker" part.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Fish played a major role in the book. In the movie, he gets limited screen time and is more of a running gag than an important character.
  • 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).
  • Disappeared Dad: Conrad and Sally's father is never seen or mentioned. Larry dating and planning to marry Joan, whom he points out is a single mother, indicates that she is either divorced or a widow, or possibly was never married at all.
  • Disappointed in You: Joan doesn't outright tell Conrad that she's disappointed in him because she can't trust him to do the right thing, but that implication certainly is there. Although Conrad tries to hide his pain and anger, you can tell he's rather sad... and this is what takes place.
    Joan: ...And absolutely, no one sets foot in the living room, or else.
    Conrad: Or else what? You're gonna do what Larry said and send me to military school?
    Joan: Maybe if you just behaved, I wouldn't have to consider military school. I wish I could trust you.
    Conrad: [barely hiding his pain] I wish I had a different mom.
    Joan: Well, sometimes, I wish the same thing! [she leaves to go back to the office]
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • The intensely germaphobic Humberfloob fires an employee on the spot - on his first day, no less - for simply shaking his hand. However, the employee is briefly seen at the party at the end, and Mr. Humberfloob has a surprisingly jovial reaction to him trying to shake his hand again, implying that Humberfloob rehired him after he'd calmed down from the incident.
    • 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.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: Played straight twice with the Cat (as a Chef) threatening the TV show host (also the Cat). The first time he tells him, "It'll look like a bloody accident." The second time the Chef pulls out a cleaver knife and says he will end him, only to chop his tail off in the process.
  • Double Entendre: The movie is packed with them. One of the most notorious is The Cat saying "Dirty hoe!" as he throws away a garden hoe... then picking it back up again and trying to French-kiss it.
  • Eccentric Mentor: The Cat engineered every single event that happenednote  (the explosion in the oven that made a mess, Thing One and Thing Two escalating the mess and losing Nevins, Conrad opening the crate, "losing" his magic hat and forcing the kids to figure out how to fix the mess themselves) in order for Conrad and Sally to grow out of their flaws (Conrad being a serial rule-breaker with no regard for the consequences and Sally's up-tight, Control Freak demeanor). Surprisingly, it actually worked.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Lawrence hates being called Larry. Conrad, naturally, refers to him exclusively as Larry.
  • 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 Product Placement.
    • Meanwhile, Larry drives a yellow 2002 Ford Thunderbird.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Conrad has very little respect for rule-following and is generally more willing to go along with the Cat’s antics than his sister, but even he is hesitant to break his mom’s rule of nobody setting foot in the living room (or else) when the Cat suggests playing there. And along with Sally, is visibly outraged when the Cat uses their mom’s party dress to clean the kitchen.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: When Chef Cat ends up severing his own tail when he decides he's had enough of Host Cat nonsense.
    Sally: Um... Cat, your tail.
    Chef Cat: What about it? (takes a look at his severed tail) Oh, I see! I've chopped it off! (picks up his tail and the chopped-off part) Well, that's interesting because... (realizes what he just did) Son of a bi-! (gets bleeped)
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The film takes place during the morning (roughly from 9 A.M.) and the afternoon of just one day.
  • Flat Character: The Cat's whole character mostly consists of him making crude jokes at the camera and laughing occasionally.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When asked to set up for the party, Larry claims he has to go to a meeting and heads for his car. As Joan drives off, Larry then exits his car onto his driveway and runs into his house. And what do you know, later turns out he's a lazy, unemployed slacker.
    • For most of the second half, the Cat doesn't seem overly interested in the mission to get the lock back on the crate, he contributes very little while Sally and Conrad do the hard work, and at times he even seems to actively cause setbacks for them with his antics. It's later revealed that he intentionally planned for all the day's events to happen so that Sally and Conrad would learn from their mistakes and solve the problem on their own.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Lampshaded with the Cat.
    Cat: Gimme five! [looks at his hand] Four!
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Look closely at the contract Conrad and Sally sign- as seen in these photos of the prop, and you'll spot some tidbits, like how Anville is located in "Lewis and Clark County" and the fact that the kids would've had to pay for the Cat's adventures if the movie didn't make more than 100 dollars at the box office internationally; the "Spayed and Neutered" thing has Mike Myers' actual birthdate listed as the Cat's.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The Cat's vehicle is called the Super Luxurious Omnidirectional Whatchamajigger (S.L.O.W.), formerly the Super Hydraulic Instantaneous Transporter (S.H.I.T.).
    The Cat: Oooooh! Quick! To the S.L.O.W.!
    • Later, he has a machine called the Dynamic Industrial Renovation Tractormajigger (D.I.R.T.)
  • Gasshole: Larry. He burps and farts in front of the Walden kids, and picks his nose in the privacy of his home, all the while pretending to be a successful businessman in front of his girlfriend.
  • Gaussian Girl: Played for laughs when The Cat poses as the birthday party pinata and (possibly) loses more than some hidden candy. Beyond the troubling schoolgirl smock and Lionel Richie tune, note the blurry unicorn in the background.
  • Gold Digger: Though not explicitly stated, it's heavily implied that at least one of the reasons Larry wants to marry Joan is for her money. Joan is said to be the "best real estate agent in town", while Larry is shown to be an unemployed slob in severe debt, though he poses as a handsome, charismatic salesman to win her over.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Larry's fall into the Cat's World of Chaos sends him a bit bonkers by his final appearance.
  • 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. Conrad predicts that it can't end well and Cat frantically raises a white flag but the boy stands behind him and slams the bat directly into Cat's right 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 and whoops.
  • Hairball Humor: At one point, the Cat coughs a hairball into his hands, then throws it onto a statue, grossing the kids out.
  • Happy Place: What the Cat's Imagine Spot in reaction to the Groin Attack mentioned above was likely meant to be.
  • Hate Sink: Lawrence "Larry" Quinn is a repulsive bum and con man who deceives Joan Walden into thinking that he's highly-successful so that she'll go out with him. When Joan's troublemaking son Conrad shows such intense dislike for him that he wants him out of the way, Larry insists Conrad be sent to a military school and then smugly taunts him about it privately only to pretend to be friendly again right after. Losing things in his house to repo men and wanting to leech off Joan by marrying her, Larry also chases the kids down in order to plan for both Conrad and now Sally too to be sent away, only ultimately stopped by The Cat's interference—and the man's own allergic reaction to him—in the end.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Mrs. Kwan is nearly impossible to wake up even if she's drowned in purple goo, there's loud noises of crashing and running going on or whatever cacophonous chaos the Cat makes.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Sally is introduced telling herself to "be spontaneous", while literally planning out her entire day with a detailed to-do list.
    • Sally tells her mother without a hint of irony that she won't tolerate bossiness, despite being a Control Freak who cut ties with all her friends just because they talked back to her.
    • The Cat mocking the Fish for drinking where he pees. Need we remind you of how cats clean their nether regions?
  • Hypocrite: Larry frequently insults Conrad for being irresponsible and needing discipline, when Larry himself is really a lazy bum who's buried in debt from his excessive spending. At one he also tells Sally that nobody likes suck-ups, despite the fact that he's been brown nosing Joan for their entire relationship so he can get access to her money.
  • I Warned You:
    • The Fish tells Sally and Conrad this after the Cat makes a mess of their mother's dress:
      The Fish: I told you all of this was gonna happen, but no-one listens to a fish! A dog goes "woof woof" and everyone knows little Sally's trapped under a log, but a fish speaks in plain English
    • After the house is destroyed, the Fish begins another of these:
      The Fish: Now this may not be the time for 'I told you so'... [the kids glare at him while part of the ceiling falls in] ...Like I said, not the time!
  • Inevitably Broken Rule: Invoked. The Cat gives Conrad a single rule - "no opening the crate" - and the second half of the film is set in motion when Conrad opens it and loses the lock, unleashing the Mother of All Messes. When the Cat reveals that he orchestrated this entire incident, Conrad realizes that the Cat wanted him to open the crate, and gave him this rule specifically to tempt him.
  • Inflating Body Gag: The Cat drinks some milk and, being lactose intolerant, experiences a severe bout of gas. His body inflates like a balloon, with a matching sound, before he lets it out with a massive belch.
  • Interactive Narrator: The ending of the film reveals that the Cat has been narrating the entire time.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Despite all of the abuse Mrs. Kwan took throughout the film, she ends up completely unharmed and doesn't know a single thing that happened.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • The Cat tells the kids during his "Fun" song that while it is fun to have fun, they have to know how. Then, near the end of the movie, after the house is destroyed, Conrad repeats said phrase while demanding the Cat leave:
      The Cat: But I thought you two wanted to have fun today.
      Conrad: Look around, Cat! You were right—"it's fun to have fun, but you have to know how", and you don't know when enough is enough! Now, go!
    • At the start of the movie, Joan states how frustrating that Conrad "does the opposite of what she says". Later in the movie, the Cats explains to the kids as they're trying to catch Thing One and Two that the Things quite literally "do the opposite of what you say". Something Conrads that expresses frustration over.
    • Later in the same scene, Larry Quinn has a discussion with Joan regarding sending Conrad to military school, and he calls the school "what we in the sales business call a 'win-win scenario'." Conrad repeats this to Larry near the end of the movie as Joan sends him out.
  • Jerkass:
    • Larry Quinn is a greedy and lazy man who doesn't show Joan this side at all because he wants to marry her for her money, but bullies her kids. He does reveal his true colors to her in the end.
    • The Cat. He claims he wants to put a smile on the children's faces, but his definition of "fun" completely disregards the destruction his "fun" is causing. One noteworthy example is when the Things are wrecking the whole house. During most of this period, he's sitting on a couch having a drink doing nothing and is a total hindrance throughout nearly the entire movie. To his credit, he does clean up the mess at the end, but only after Conrad and Sally call him out on his behavior. However, his whole experience with Conrad and Sally has still managed to make them more decent children.
  • Kick the Dog: In a deleted scene after being dumped by Joan, Larry makes a literal attempt at this when he tries to kick Nevins out of spite. Unfortunately for him, Nevins gets larger because of the goo and fights back against Larry.
  • Large Ham:
    Mr. Humberfloob: "YOU'RE FIIIRRREEEDDD!!!"
    • The Cat qualifies as well, seeing how he has acted pretty over-the-top in many different situations. It also helps that he was portrayed by Mike Myers.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: By the end of the movie, Larry is left traumatized, humiliated in front of the woman he wanted to marry for money, and covered in purple slime. Also he's likely homeless by the end of the movie.
  • 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:
    Cat: I thought the moment needed something.
  • Live-Action Cartoon: The Cat and the Things basically amount to being Toons with Reality Warper abilities that operates on Rule of Funny and Toon Physics. While the Cat claims that all his powers come from his iconic hat, this could have just been a lie done to up the stakes.
  • Logo Joke: The Universal, DreamWorks SKG and Imagine Entertainment logos are animated in Seussian form.
  • Lower-Class Lout: Larry turns out to be this, but is secretly hiding his poverty from Joan and her kids.
    • There's a chance he wasn't always lower-class, however, as when he's in his house it's revealed he has won several trophies. Coupled with his pompous, self-serving nature, this makes it likely that he was successful when he was younger, before his laziness, greed, and arrogance led to him being entitled.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Downplayed for laughs. While portraying a chef, the Cat unwittingly chops off his own tail. He doesn’t notice it until Sally points it out, and even then it doesn’t truly register to him until he picks up the individual pieces of his tail.
    Sally: Umm… Cat… Your tail.
    The Cat: What about it? [looks at severed tail] Oh, I see! I've chopped it off! [picks up tail pieces] Well, that's interesting because-- SON OF A B--
  • Manipulative Bastard: Larry is very controlling and manipulative of Joan and (early on) Sally because he wants them to think that Conrad and Nevins need to both be sent away.
  • Mean 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 a strange miracle that he has any employees. Though, he means well, and thankfully, he does gradually congratulate Joan for keeping the house neat and tidy.
    • Mr. Humberfloob is sublty a well-spoken and amicable person, but can be very neurotic and unforgiving, due to his extreme phobia of germs, excessive neat freakishness, and unrealistic expectations of perfection in others (for example, living in a home that's clean enough to meet his standards).
  • Medium Awareness: 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.
  • Mock Millionaire: Downplayed with Larry. He pretends to be rich and successful because he knows Joan wouldn't like his true nature, and acts in an arrogant and stuck-up manner in front of Conrad.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: A downplayed example with Joan. After getting into an argument with Conrad, she essentially said she wished she had a different son. She immediately regrets her words and contemplates going back in the house to apologize. However, since she was late for work, she backed out of it.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The book's narrator is named Conrad.
  • Never My Fault: While chasing their dog, Sally sees her friend Denise having a birthday party and is completely shocked and hurt that she wasn't invited, obviously forgetting that she had previously told Denise never to speak to her again after they had a fight.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • One trailer implies the Cat attempts to hide from the kids by clinging above the ceiling of the living room. It's actually a deleted shot of the Cat hiding from Larry when he talks to the kids after raiding their refrigerator.
    • Some of the TV spots imply that the Cat destroyed the house by serving a tennis ball and inadvertently knocking the ceiling down. The tennis moment actually happens after the house is destroyed, and the ball in question is implied to hit a cat outside instead of the ceiling.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Conrad picks the crablock while it's on the crate, allowing it to attach itself to Nevins, who then gets away. Without the lock on the crate, it ends up transforming the house into the Mother of All Messes.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Fish's demeanor and mannerisms were patterned after Don Knotts.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Larry sneezes more purple goo while on his knees and proposing.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • In a deleted scene where she is called by the fish, Joan would have been seen playing on Conrad's video game when she should be working.
    • Sally ends up jumping on the couch just like Conrad and the Cat, even though that's obvious rule-breaking as she was not supposed to even set foot in the living room. At the end, Joan herself joins them, effectively breaking her own rule.
  • Off to Boarding School: Larry apparently knows that Conrad knows what kind of a man he is and wants the boy sent off to Colonel Wilhelm Military Academy for Troubled Youth, which is about 8 hours away from home. Conrad is very much against this idea, especially since according to Larry, it is "like summer camp except with brutal forced marches and soul crushing discipline." Even Joan doesn't feel that it is right for Conrad.
  • Only Sane Man: The Fish, like his book counterpart, though he's much more of a Jerkass in this version.
  • Parrot Exposition: During the making cupcakes scene, Chef Cat explains that the "Kupkake-Inator" can make cupcakes from anything.
    Host Cat: Did you say "anything"?
    Chef Cat: Yes, anything!
    Host Cat: Anything?
    Chef Cat: Yes, anything.
    Host Cat: ...anything?
  • Parrot Expo-WHAT?: During the making cupcakes scene, Chef Cat introduces the Kupkake-Inator with Host Cat doing the Parrot Expo-WHAT?
    Chef Cat: Well, forget everything you know about making cupcakes ... and say hello ... to the amazing Kupkake-inator.
    Host Cat: Cupcake-a-what?
    Chef Cat and audience: Kupkake-inator!
  • 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."
  • Plot Twist: It turns out that everything that happened in the film (except for the Cat chopping his tail off) was all planned by the Cat.
  • Plumber's Crack: Shows up when the Cat makes repairs on the couch, complete with a plumber costume.
  • Product Placement:
    • When Ms. Kwan first enters the Walden household, Conrad is seen playing a Game Boy Advance, only for Joan to remind him that he's grounded and takes it away from him.
    • Parodied when the movie literally grinds to a halt so the Cat can advertise Universal Studios, complete with knowing wink.
      Cat: You mean like at... [scene pauses as the Cat holds up some pamphlets] Universal Studios? Hahaha, cha-ching! [scene unpauses]
    • The film also depicts everybody in Anville owning a Ford Focus, and the Ford Thunderbird and Hummer H2 both make prominent shows in the film. (The next year, another Universal family film flop, Thunderbirds, would also be sponsored by Ford.)
  • Punny Name: The name of the town is Anville. The "Spayed and Neutered" certificate even has the logo of the Anville Animal Hospital with an actual anvil.
  • Rage Breaking Point: A fairly minor example, but when Quinn catches Conrad and Sally jumping on the couch, Sally acts like she was telling Conrad to stop jumping on the couch. Unable to stand her Teacher's Pet attitude any longer, Quinn yells at her "NOBODY LIKES A SUCKUP!"
  • Read the Fine Print: After Sally and Conrad successfully plead the Cat to stay and show them how to have a good time whilst knowing how, he asks them to sign a legally-binding contract that guarantees them all of the fun they want and that nothing bad would happen. However, they apparently didn't read the exit clause that renders said contract void; Conrad tampering with the lock and opening the Trans-Dimensional Transportolator, a warp from Cat's world to Anville. That's why bad things started happening from that point onward after Conrad tampered with the lock. Fortunately, there's also a clause that says that, should Sally and Conrad learn from their mistakes, the contract is re-instated.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Conrad gives one to Larry Quinn near the end of the film.
    Conrad: Larry, Larry... You look terrible, and my mom thinks you're insane. This is what we in sales business call, "a win-win scenario."
    Sally: Cat, you said nothing bad would happen!
    Conrad: Cat. You need to get out.
    Conrad: [frustrated] It's not a game! None of this is a game!
    Cat: [confused] But, I thought you two wanted to have fun today?
    Conrad: Look around, Cat. You were right. It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how, and you don't know when enough is enough. Now, go.
    Sally & Conrad: [both pointing to the door] OUT!
  • Retro Universe: Apart from all the brand-new Ford Focuses driving around, the movie has the same retro vibe as the Jim Carrey Grinch movie.
  • Reverse Psychology: The Cat's instruction to Conrad - "No opening the crate" - turns out to have been this. The Cat wanted Conrad to open the crate all along, as part of his plan, and knew that telling him not to open it would compel him to do so.
  • Ruder and Cruder: Compared to the original book or even the live-action How the Grinch Stole Christmas! movie, this film goes further with the rauchiness, with its abundance of innuendo, mild swearing and toilet humor.
  • Sanity Slippage: Larry comes off as going through this when he makes a last ditch effort to convince Joan to send Conrad and Sally away. He comes in while he's still a mess and tries telling the whole story about the Cat and how the house became the Mother of All Messes without any proof while Conrad and Sally sit back laughing. Even though the events happened, Joan does not believe him as she came back to the kids well-behaved and the house in perfect shape.
  • Secretly Selfish: Larry - he doesn't even want Joan to see his house and the fact that he's a slob.
  • Shout-Out:
    • During the "Dirty hoe!" scene, the name on the pug's doghouse is Frank.
    • Also, Larry has a running gag in which he exclaims "Judas Priest!" in surprise at something.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: After the Cat wrecks the house beyond repair, he wants to keep playing. Seeing this as the last straw, Conrad and Sally both tell him to leave.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Unlike its beloved book, the movie is a lot more cynical and mean-spirited (though it was probably not intended by the creators).
  • Smug Snake: Larry has a very inflated ego and places lots of value on money and material things, leading to him brown-nosing Joan and acting rude and snobbish towards the Walden kids.
  • Something Else Also Rises:
    • Happens with the Cat's hat when the picture of Conrad's and Sally's mom falls open, revealing that she has something of a... dirty past.
    • Bonus points for a deleted scene, where the Cat sits on a pool chair flowing through a stream and shows the audience the picture onscreen for a few seconds; she was modeling a skimpy green bikini.
  • Spiritual Successor: This was co-produced by Universal and Imagine Entertainment, which had mounted the live-action version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. Mike Myers being cast as the Cat is a clear analogue to Jim Carrey as the Grinch.
  • The Stool Pigeon:
  • Species Subversives: The eponymous cat is lactose intolerant, breaking the stereotype of cats liking milk (though this is actually quite common among real cats).
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Sally mentions early in the film that she's fallen out with two of her friends because they talked back to her, with her mother's reaction indicating that this is a childish, petty argument that will blow over. Later, Sally sees her friends at a birthday party and realises that she wasn't invited, indicating that her toxic Control Freak attitude really did alienate her friends for good.
    • With the Cat's introduction, he ends up stopping with the rhyming as it's not as easy, which is justifiable considering that rhyming is hard to improvise; rhyming sometimes requires preparation.
  • Take a Third Option: Parodied by the Cat at one point.
    Sally: We're staying and calling mom!
    Cat: There is a third option. [dramatic piano chord]
    Sally: There is?
    Cat: Yes. It involves... [zooms out to show the Cat standing at a toy keyboard] ...murder. [Cat plays a dramatic piano chord]
    Conrad: That's your option?!
    Cat: No, but you guys both had options. I just wanted to have one too, hehe... or did I? [Cat plays another dramatic piano chord]
    Sally: Cat, you're not helping!
  • Take the Wheel: When Cat and the kids are in the middle of car chase, Cat not only gives the wheel to Conrad, but fabricates another wheel and gives it to Sally so they're driving the same car with two separate wheels. To make matters worse:
    Conrad: Two people can't drive at the same time!
    The Cat: You're right. We should all drive! [fabricates a third wheel for himself]
  • The Talk: When Sally asks the Cat where he came from, he replies, "Hmm, how do I put this... when a mommy cat and a daddy cat love each other very much, they decide that—"
  • Technical Euphemism: The Cat doesn't like the word "dog", so he calls Nevins a "canine-American".
  • Terrified of Germs: Hank Humberfloob is a germophobic Neat Freak who 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".
  • Toon Physics: Given the supernatural nature of the Cat and the Things, much of the slapstick they are involved in can be comparable to a Loony Tunes short.
  • Tutti Frutti Hat: At one point during the "Fun, Fun, Fun" song, the Cat wears a fruit hat.
  • Uninvited to the Party: Halfway during a chase scene in the film, Control Freak Sally and her brother Conrad, with the titular Cat, pass through a classmate's house where a birthday party is being held. Sally briefly looks into the living room and is surprised to see that her whole class is invited... except her.
  • Unexplained Accent: The Cat has a Jewish-American accent in this iteration.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Larry starts to have one when Joan refuses to marry him, which means Larry will drown in debt and likely become homeless.
  • Villainous Glutton: Larry loves to eat, and steals food from Joan's fridge all the time.
  • We Need a Distraction: The scene where Conrad said "Hey Things, DO NOT do anything to slow down my mom." So, of course, that's just what they did. Pretending to be motorcycle police, the Things pulled Mom over to give her a ticket. Quinn grabbed their motorcycle and sped off as the chase ensues.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: A specific location isn't given for Anville; a close-up of the contract's text states that it's located in "Lewis & Clark County", which is a real county in Montana. (The filming took place in California, in the town of Pomona, and in parts of the Simi Valley.)
    • The Cat does point out when driving the wrong way on a one way street that the truck has a Rhode Island license plate and says to the children that they never see those around Anville hinting that it’s not in or near Rhode Island.
  • White Flag: Cat waves one frantically as a rather big kid with a wooden bat approaches him, thinking he's a piñata.
  • Willfully Weak: After they manage to get the lock back onto the crate, the Cat reveals that he never lost his magical hat (if that even was the source of his abilities in the first place) and faked losing his Toon-based abilities.
  • World of Chaos: What the crate's power ends up transforming the children's house into once the film reaches its climax; the place is full of rocky precipices, a purple goop ocean, various strange creatures flying, an unexpected water slide (using the sleeping babysitter as a raft) and a toilet that shoots flames.
  • Would Rather Suffer: The cat says that there are two treatments for the kids' attitude problems: one that involves "a series of painful injections in the abdomen and keecaps". And the other involving a musical number. After the cat lets out a "Me-me-me-meow!" Sally replies "How many shots?"
  • Your Mom:
    Chef Cat: You're not just wrong, you're stupid!
    TV Host Cat: Now wait just a minute—
    Chef Cat: And you're ugly, just like your mum!
    TV Host Cat: Did you just call my mother ugly?


Video Example(s):


The Cat in the Hat

During his demonstration of the Kupkake-inator, Chef Cat eventually gets fed up with Host Cat's witty banter and severs what he thinks is the latter's tail. He doesn't realize what he just did until he picks up both halves of his severed appendage.

How well does it match the trope?

4.07 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / CurseCutShort

Media sources: