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The Cat In The Hat is a 2021 American computer-animated comedy musical fantasy film produced by Warner Animaton Group, and released by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on the 1957 book of the same name by Dr. Seuss, making it the third screen adaptation of the story, after the 1971 TV special starring Allan Sherman, and the 2003 live-action film starring Mike Myers. The film stars Jack Black, Brooklynn Prince, JD McCrary, Michael Keaton, Jenna von Oy, Jenifer Lewis, Steve Burns, Bill Hader, Dee Bradley Baker, and Owen Laramore.

Plans for an animated Cat In The Hat film were picked up by Warner Bros. in January 2018. The animators animated the live-action characters which the studio agreed to allow. Louis C.K. looked interested in the role, but dropped his role, and passed it on to Black. The film was scheduled to be released on May 27, 2021, but after an overwhelmingly negative reaction to the first trailer (released in October 17, 2020), Warner Bros. Pictures delayed the film back to November 8, 2021 in order to redesign the Cat, Thing 1, and Thing 2, whose original 2003 animation designs drew the most criticism. A new trailer featuring the redesigns was met with far more positive responses. The film's songs were sung by Owen Laramore.

The film had its world premiere on November 2, 2021, and was released theatrically on November 8, 2021 in the United States. The Cat In The Hat was a box-office success, earning over $319 million on a $97 million budget. The film received mixed reviews from critics, with some praising Mark Mothersbaugh and John Powell's musical score and the CGI facial emotion on the 2003 characters while criticizing the same amount of mature content to the source material.

A sequel, The Cat In The Hat 2, was released on January 5, 2025, which also uses animation on the live-action characters, but was considered an improvement over The Cat In The Hat.

Plot

Conrad and Sally Walden are in a theater and do the countdown to start the movie.

Conrad and Sally live in the city of Anville with their single mother Joan. Joan works for neat-freak Hank Humberfloob as a real estate agent and is hosting an office party at her house. One day, she is called back to the office leaving the children with Ms. Kwan, the babysitter (after the previous one quit) and forbidding them to enter the living room, which is being kept pristine for the upcoming party. Joan is also dating their-next door neighbor Larry Quinn, much to Conrad's disgruntlement because Larry is constantly on the lookout for any mischief Conrad may be up to as he wants nothing more than to send him away to military school for being a "hot-headed troublemaker".

Once Joan leaves on a rainy day, Sally and Conrad meet an anthropomorphic humanoid talking cat with a red-and- white striped top hat and a large red bow tie named the Cat in the Hat. He and his pal, Cat Jr., persuade them to learn to have fun, but the family's fish does not want Cat and Cat Jr. around while Joan is away. During his presence, the Cat leaves a trail of destruction across the house and in the process releases two troublemaking things named Thing 1 and Thing 2 from a crate that he explains is actually a portal to his world. The Cat tells Conrad never to open the crate and allows the Things to have fun but instead make a mess out of the house. Despite the Cat's warning, Conrad picks the lock on the crate resulting in it to attach to the collar of the family dog Nevins. Sally, Cat, Conrad, Cat Jr., and Fish then drive the Cat's super powered car to town in search of Nevins. During this, Conrad realizes that the Things always do the opposite to what they are told and uses this to their advantage to have them stall Joan.

Meanwhile, Larry is revealed to be an unemployed slob with dentures and in financial debut though claiming that he is a successful businessman in the hopes of marrying Joan for her money. Larry sees Nevins running across the street and tracks down Joan to tell her, but Things 1 and 2 have stalled her on the road by posing as police officers. Larry, having somehow deduced what Conrad and Sally were plotting, goes back to the house, telling Joan to meet him there.

By the time the kids, the fish, Cat, and Cat Jr. return to the house with the lock and are moments away from entering an enraged Larry suddenly cuts them off, and orders the three inside the house. Conrad tries to warn him, but simply cannot be bothered to believe him. He then immediately sneezes uncontrollably due to his allergic reaction to Cat, who takes advantage of this and scares him away, only for the house to fall apart in a paper-like fashion, with Larry falling into an abyss. A huge mess spills from the unlocked crate and engulfs the house, resulting in a surreal dimension-like landscape where the house once stood, aptly named "The Mother of All Messes". They navigate their way through the oversized house and find the crate while cleaning up. The house is returned to its normal proportions, but them immediately falls apart. Following a heated argument, the kids learn that Cat planned the mess the whole time to which they angrily order him and Cat Jr. to exit the house. Cat and Cat Jr. feebly attempt to reason with them but they firm their resolve and order them to leave anyway.

Conrad prepares to face the consequences his selfishness has caused to the house when Joan comes home, but Sally says she will share the blame. The Cat and Cat Jr., having to have overheard this, happily returns to clean up the mess with a great cleaning invention and fixes up the house. Sally and Conrad reconcile with Cat and Cat Jr. as they say an emotional goodbye to the children and departs just as Joan arrives. Larry, having to have survived the gooey abyss of the Mother of All Messes, returns thinking he has busted the kids, but when Joan sees the clean house and a messy Larry, she does not believe and dumps him. After the successful party, Joan spends quality time with her children by jumping on the living room couch while Cat along Cat Jr. and with Things 1 and 2 walk off into the sunset.

When the movie ends, Sally and Conrad head home, and Conrad stays to look at the credits.

Cast

Jack Black as The Cat in the Hat

JD McCrary as Conrad Walden

Brooklynn Prince as Sally Walden

Jenna von Oy as Joan Walden

Michael Keaton as Larry Quinn

Jenifer Lewis as Mrs. Kwan

Steve Burns as Mr. Humberfloob

Bill Hader as The Fish

Dee Bradley Baker as Thing 1# and Thing 2#

Owen Laramore as Cat Jr.

Barry Bostwick as The Narrator

Pierce Gagnon as Dumb Schweitzer

Taylor Swift as female club-goer

Frank Welker as Nevins; Welker reprises his role from the original live-action film.

Cobie Smudlers as Humberfloob Real Estate secretary

Chris McKay as Astounding Products announcer

Tony Hale as Kate The Caterer

Iris Apatow as Denise

Val Kilmer as Jim McFlinnigan

Billy Dee Williams as Mr. Vompatatat

Production

On January 24, 2018, it was announced that an animated Dr. Seuss' The Cat In The Hat film was in development as part of a creative partnership with Seuss Enterprises. In December 2019, began. The animators considered animating the live-action versions of the characters, which Warner Bros. agreed to allow. Ana Lily Amirpour entered the project for directing duties. Mark Mothersbaugh (this time collaborating with John Powell) was hired to compose the score, having to have previously worked on the Lego Movie films. Owen Laramore performed songs.

Casting

JD McCrary and Brooklynn Prince were cast as Conrad and Sally. In 2020, Louis C.K. was cast, but dropped it, and in May, it was given to Jack Black, while Jenna von Oy, Michael Keaton, Jenifer Lewis, Steve Burns, and Bill Hader were cast.

Box-office

The film grossed $130 million in the United States and Canada, and $189 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $319 million.

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 38% approval rating based on 104 reviews. The consensus reads, "The Cat In The Hat may have the same amount of adult content as the 2003 film, but children and adults should consider it better". Metacritic signed the film a score of 51 out of 100 based on 41 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".

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