Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat Movie Poster Image
Too mature for the kids who are reading the book.
  • PG
  • 2003
  • 82 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 81 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 138 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Dubious characterization of Asians and elderly folks. Surprisingly rude and crude humor for a PG, including double entendres and other bodily function jokes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

No positive role models here.


Animals treated poorly, the Cat gets kicked in the crotch, comic mayhem. Comic peril may freak out young children.


Double entendres will go over youngest kids' heads but not yours.


Some naughty words and a "dirty hoe" pun. Spells out the s-word.


More tie-ins than a barrel of monkeys.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Joke reference to drinking and smoking, adult character gets beer.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie isn't for the kids who are reading the book -- in its quest for a commercially-rewarding PG rating it has aged itself out of the youngest audience. It's not right for your 5- or 6-year-old. There is surprisingly rude and crude humor including double entendres and almost-swearing, potty humor, and other bodily function jokes. The Cat picks up a muddy garden implement and refers to it as "a dirty hoe" and spells out the s-word. The Cat is hit in the crotch. There's a lot of comic peril that may be too intense for younger children. An adult character drinks beer.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 2 and 7-year-old Written byRose Upstate NY November 3, 2009

I have never hated a movie till this one!

Even if you ignore the slaughter of a good book- this movie is disgusting. It has the humor level of drunk college men, but marketed for children? This movie... Continue reading
Adult Written byVix66 April 9, 2008

Not for my five year old

This movie only proved that I need to not trust the PG rating where my six year old is concerned, and need to do some research before I take him to a movie. A... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byCheetah-Licious0900 November 22, 2012

Want a reason?? Here's one!!

I do not think this movie is appropriate for any child because it may lead them into thinking the wrong thing. For example, your child hear's the Cat call... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byCoolGuy1000 April 26, 2012

Don't watch innapropiate

The movie is terrible! The part where he says I'll hit you and make look like a bloody accident! And when he says you son of a b****. And you dirty hoe. Dr... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on the classic Dr. Seuss story, this live-action film stars Mike Myers as the mischievous Cat. Meyers' interpretation of the Cat seems to be a master of vaudevillian shtick with a few of the voices from The Wizard of Oz and a sort of demented Mary Poppins thrown in for what turns out to be very good measure. Here, the Cat is an "I'm here to teach you a lesson," sort of guy to his two young friends. Conrad (Spencer Breslin) must learn to follow the rules and Sally (Dakota Fanning) has to learn to loosen up and not be so bossy. And they have to learn to appreciate one another. Also new to the film, a neighbor (Alec Baldwin) schemes to marry the kids' mother and have Conrad sent to a military boarding school. Meanwhile, the Cat creates absolute chaos and the kids react with a mixture of horror and delight in seeing things like that "don't you touch anything" living room covered in splotches of purple goo. Jellybean-colored sets (and Mom's just-dry-cleaned dress) are cheerfully destroyed along with, Mom's rules, some of the kids' ideas about themselves, and the laws of physics.

Is it any good?

The great thing about the irrepressibly anarchic Cat in the Hat is that even Hollywood can't contain him. They can stretch out the story with filler that ranges from the superfluous to the distracting and once in a while reaches the level of oh-no-not-that-again. But every time the Cat takes over, it is entertaining. Meyers' energy and audacity -- and his astonishingly animated expressions under all that fur -- keep the movie on track. This is important because very little of what is added to the story is worth the effort.

The mom-neighbor subplot isn't very original or interesting, but fortunately it does not take too much time away from the real story, which is the undeniable pleasure of watching the Cat destroy and create chaos in the perfect house. That's what keeps this movie working. We get both the fun of imagining all of that and the satisfaction of a happy ending. And Meyers is simply a hoot to watch, with able support from the kids (especially Fanning) and the fish (voice of Sean Hayes).

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Sally had a hard time with her friends and why Conrad had a hard time following rules.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate