Yes, I know it's old, but I just saw it on HBO.
This movie was a total letdown.
But the thing about it was that it could have been saved-- but with a lot of changes.
To start, the director could have been a little more controlling of Mike Myers performances to get him to stay consistant with the tones and mood changes in the movie. It felt as if Mike had the reins, and was bouncing off the walls. It lost focus. I think this happens sometimes with green directors and 'funny' actors.
Another aspect was, of course, the writing. The plot was too cheap. The boy/boyfriend conflict was not real at all. It felt contrived. And absolutely get rid of the toilet humor. Not only was it unsuitable for such Dr. Seuss integrity, but it seemed, well, forced. Oh, and is it really that hard to get the cat to rhyme?
In my over-analytical opinion, the REAL conflict was the kids with the cat in the hat. That should have been the plot center, not some Disney rule about tangible villains (Disney and other studios like to always have silly 'rules' in their scripts, such as villains in their kiddy movies. See Toy Story to debunk these rules!).
Here's how to save the plot: The boy was a an unruly boy, and the girl was a obsessive perfectionist. Good. Conflict between them makes these characters interesting. The mother is too busy to pay attention to the kids. A good setup.
Get rid of the boyfriend, unless he's used as a device to keep the mother occupied and looking the other way. Nothing more.
Use the mysterious crate as the ultimate opposing conflict for the end. I liked how the crate took over the house, but it should have been utilized throughout the script. Have the cat taking things out there, that just escalates the problems for both the children. One thing would be more unrley than the boy, so the boy starts to see that he needs to restrain the cat, therefore learning that he needs to restrain himself.
The girl, should right away feel a little snubbed by not being invited to her friend's birthday party. In the movie, it came a little late. Bring it in right away. That way she would reasonably be more apt to get with the cat to be jumping around on the couch and breaking rules, effectively loosening her up a bit.
Then the crate takes off, because the cat and the children are preoccupied with the Thing One and Thing Two. THat way, the crate represents the ultimate peril, which is too destroy everything to the point of no return. The kids then struggle to find how to get things back to normal before the mother's party. They also struggle with the cat wanting to be unruly, but in the kids combine their skills to restrain the cat and solve the riddle of the crate.
This improves the script, because now you don't need to have the kids going outside the house, which to me felt too disjuncting from the indoor problems.
I liked the babysitter falling asleep and staying asleep. It was ridiculous, but blatently so, which set a good tone. Too bad the tone was not well followed through the rest of the script.
Oh, and the fish was a little too whiney. He should have been the voice of reason, which stated the way things are in the real world, but isn't followed in this world.
Overall, don't see this movie. Someday, someone will come along and make a Cat in the Hat movie that will impress even the late Dr. Seuss. Then go see THAT movie.