Missy Schwartz
December 05, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Cat in the Hat

Current Status
In Season
Dr. Seuss
Kids and Family

We gave it a B

THE CAT IN THE HAT (Random House, $8.99) Don’t quote us, but we’re pretty sure Dr. Seuss’ Cat never uttered risque jokes (”Dirty hoe!”) or hung out with Paris Hilton. We do know for certain that Seuss’ festive feline spoke in happy rhymes, and Mike Myers’ hairy horror barely manages a decent couplet in the movie. THE LAST WORD Protect yourselves from Hollywood’s hook! Do good by the doc and stick with the book!

THE HUMAN STAIN (Vintage, $14.95) Philip Roth’s novel about a retired college professor with a big secret is so elaborately layered that it’s hard to fault screenwriter Nicholas Meyer for having to simplify on the big screen. Still, Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman are bizarrely miscast. THE LAST WORD Read Roth, if for nothing more than Vietnam vet Les Farley’s fascinatingly disturbing backstory, sorely missing in the film.

TIMELINE (Ballantine, $7.99) Michael Crichton’s tale of time-traveling grad students is full of techie speak and history-geek talk, but neither has a place in Richard Donner’s flick, in which — no joke — Paul Walker stars as a sensitive chap with a thing for archaeology, and medieval folks speak perfect modern English. THE LAST WORD There’s plenty of B-movie fun here (check out the hilariously lo-fi teleporting), but for sci-fi fans, Crichton is the way to go.

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