Based on the popular children's book written by Charlotte's
Web author E B White, Stuart Little is an absolute charmer of a film
that will appeal to audiences of all ages.
When the Littles (Geena Davis and Hugh Laurie) visit the local
orphanage to find a brother for their only son George (Jonathan
Lipnicki, the terminally cute kid from Jerry Maguire, etc), they
return home with a cute, wise cracking little mouse named Stuart.
However, acceptance as part of the family is not quite so
easy, as initially George resents his new brother. As does Snowbell
(voiced by Nathan Lane), the family cat, who feels neglected since
Stuart's acceptance into the family home. He arranges with a pack of
alley cats (voiced by Chazz Palminteri and Steve Zahn, et al) to
dispose of the pesky Stuart. The determined Stuart has to find his
way back home through the hidden dangers of a big city, least of which
is the treacherous Central Park.
Brilliant animatronics and computer generated imagery make it
seem as if the animals are really talking, and enable Stuart to
interact convincingly with his human family. The clever script, from
M Night Shyamalan (the superb The Sixth Sense) and Gregory J Brooker,
taps into notions of family and that sense of belonging. The clever
production design gives the movie some wonderful contrasts that
reinforce the fairy tale nature of the whole thing.
Michael J Fox is wonderful, and lends his cheeky presence and
superb sense of comic timing to the voice of Stuart, making him an
appealing, witty character who will easily ingratiate himself into the
audience's affections. But some of the film's best lines belong to
Lane, who seems destined to always be hunting mice, as the mischievous
feline who plots to get rid of our hero.
Director Rob Minkoff (better known for his animated Disney
features like The Lion King) maintains a cracking pace throughout, and
brings to the material an astute mix of broad slapstick comedy and
Although enjoyable enough, this genial little film about a
charming rodent is not in the same league as the wonderful Mouse Hunt.
Nonetheless, it is perfect family entertainment for the holidays!
While the younger fry will enjoy the antics of the animals and the
visual humour, older audiences will appreciate the intelligent
handling of some important themes.
Copyright © 2000 Greg King