Joel Siegel on 'Cat in the Hat'

ByABC News
December 1, 2003, 1:05 PM

Nov. 21 -- Hollywood is feeling the holiday spirit.

Last week three of the top ten films were family films. This week, with Cat in the Hat, it's going to be four.

We'll start with the best: Elf. It wasn't the number one film the week it opened, but word of mouth was so good, it was number one in its second week. That almost never happens.

But Will Farrell is why it did, and it should be no surprise that he is the latest of the Saturday Night Live comics to become a movie star.

Families have discovered how funny and how well this little film tells its King-sized holiday message: the only size that counts is how big your heart is.

Brother Bear also recommended. Disney announced this will be one of their last, old-school, hand-drawn animated features. It's still dazzlingly beautiful. Funny, too.

Only five minutes of Looney Tunes Back In Action approaches the genius of the classic Bugs Bunny cartoons. My advice, turn on the cartoon channel and watch the real thing.

Wile E. Coyote is funny, but his co-star Steve Martin is funnier. That's a review he'll remember. Steve Martin. Funnier than Wile E. Coyote.

And as for Mike Meyers as The Cat in the Hat think Shrek meets Seuss.

The movie is just like the book The fedora'd feline visits two bored kids and creates havoc.

But the book is a ten minute read. The movie's a 90 minute watch. They opened the movie up with some very straight-lined unseussical architecture, and added a mom, her boss, and an evil boyfriend: Alec Baldwin.

The additions deflate the fantasies. But when the Doctor's in, as in Seuss, it's a little bit of genius come to life. Even more precious, it's a little bit our childhoods alive again.

It's a perfect marriage of Mike Meyers edgy and Dr. Seuss silly. Among the highlights: there's an infomercial for a Cupcake-inator that will make cupcakes out of anything.

There's also Thing 1 and Thing 2, who they tear the house apart.

The last act? Clean-up time. At that point, it's getting better. But it doesn't get much better.