The real estate industry
Often complains of the pains
Caused by the movie versions
Of the people it trains.
"Unfairly maligned, we are,"
Say realty people, near and far.
And The Cat In The Hat
Certainly did not change that.

While movie critics railed about kid-inappropriate adult humor and the boorishness of the film version of Dr. Seuss' classic children's book, they overlooked pot shots The Cat In The Hat takes at the real estate profession.

Released on DVD last week, The Cat In The Hat slams suburbia too.

The movie version of the book gives the single-mom (Kelly Preston) the job of a likable real estate agent Joan Walden, juggling career and family in a home so pristine it's a natural for a House Beautiful cover.

"Joan Walden, real estate. Be it ever so humble, there's no place like Joan," she answers the phone when called to task by her boss, a hovering, not-so-humble broker Hank Humberfloob (Sean Hayes) of Humberfloob's Real Estate.

"We make your dreams come true," is the slogan of the realty firm headquartered in a cavernous office painted several hues of paper-money green, right down to the identical desktop calculators, pencil holders and staplers on every identical green desk.

Humberfloob is so vain to shake his hand is to get fired, which is just what happens to one agent who makes the mistake right after he's introduced as the new employee.

"Firrrrred-duh!" yells Humberfloob.

But Humberfloob knows he must shake hands with satisfied customers so he always carries beneath his suit jacket a holstered bottle disinfectant. He uses so much disinfectant he orders it in bulk.

With a job description that includes being preoccupied with the boss's preoccupation with personal hygiene, Humberfloob agents hunker down over a bank of hand sinks installed along a wall emblazoned with "Employees Must Wash Hands Constantly" looming over head in six-foot high letters. The only non-green item allowed on desktops is a squirt bottle of disinfectant.

Mom has to leave home and her kids at the mercy of the Cat In The Hat, because Humberfloob, at his worst, couldn't care less about her single-parent homemaking responsibilities or even that she also has to prepare a party for his company. Humberfloob earlier that day named Joan host of the next bimonthly Meet and Greet Party, scheduled for the very same evening he calls her back to work.

"The Meet and Greet Party is where you get a chance to meet our real estate agents in an informal, yet hygienic setting," says Humberfloob.

Real estate agents likely will not find Humberfloob funny.

The movie's take on suburbia is more on target, even if it's a bit over the top.

The Cat In The Hat's (Mike Myers) reckless invasion is a welcomed diversion not just from the rainy day of nothingness that bores the kids to tears. The restless tykes live in an isolated Stepford Wives-like suburban town known as Anville, which sits isolated in a verdant valley.

In Anville, cookie-cutter, two-story homes are all painted a pinkish lavender hue that's also used to color the picket fences. Lawns are so green they glow as if gamma radiated and the also identical trees list and grow to one side like weakened weeping willows. Otherwise, the limited landscaping generally shares a sickly yellow undergrowth, again, identical from one bush or tree to another.

Suburban sameness is also found in the little electric compact cars that scoot about in only yellow or green, as if a home owner association's consistent look-and-feel policy applies to cars as well as property.

The only break in the neighborhood's identical-crisis comes from the movie's "bad guy," the single mom's conniving suitor, the lecherous Larry Quinn (Alec Baldwin) who drives a gas-powered sports car.

The Cat's arrival also breaks the community's visual monotony, first with what appears to be a rocket-powered Hummer. The Hummer turns out to be only a dust cover for his real car, the Super Luxurious Omnidirectional Whatchamajigger (S.L.O.W.).

The Cat remarks that it was once called the Super Hydraulic Instantaneous Transport, but that didn't go over well because kids shouldn't say it's acronym.

It's probably just the word real estate professionals would use to describe the movie's portrayal of their profession.

So how was the controversial movie overall? Should kids watch it?

You decide.

It's on DVD.

Screen it.

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