Stuart Little 2

***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Stuart has a problem. He's small. Mrs Little (Geena Davis) is overprotective. She knows it, but can't help herself. She won't let him do anything on his own. "She treats me like a baby," he complains. When he drives to school in his red toy car, George (Jonathan Lipnicki) has to walk beside him. George is the Little's eldest.

Snowball, the cat, finds the whole thing appalling. He's been relegated to second class pet. He can't eat Stuart, or whack him around a bit, he has to tolerate him. The alternative is a boot out the door and no tuna treats. When baby Little drops her oatmeal gruel on the floor, Snowball is expected to lap it up. "I'm a handwipe with hair," he spits.

Stuart's feeling sorry for himself. "Am I a man... or a mouse?" he moans. "Is that a trick question?" Snowball asks. And then Margalo drops in and everything changes. She's a bird with a damaged wing. Or is she? As far as Stuart's concerned, she's his new best friend. Well, his only best friend. As for Snowball, he's content to wait until Mrs Little finds out. She'll go ballistic. Another creature in the house - yikes! When she falls for Margalo's Tweety Pie charm, Snowball is surprisingly philosophical. "Maybe, it's just my friends she hates."

The second of the Stuart Little films is a slow burner. The puppetry, or effects, or whatever it is that makes a white mouse behave like a wee boy, is so good that it takes time before you're wondering when the story will begin. Stuart's poor-me persona needs a whole bunch of Snowball's cynicism to cut through the sugar coating. But once the falcon arrives in the skies above Manhattan, the adventure is on red alert.

The humans - Davis, Hugh Laurie as Mr L and Lipnicki - don't have a chance, really. This is a mouse bird romance, with comic relief provided by an irascible moggie and villainy courtesy of The Hawk.

The Little's motto is, "There's always a silver lining." Certainly, the producers have provided top class vocal accompaniment - Michael J Fox (Stuart), Nathan Lane (Snowball), Melanie Griffith (Margalo), James Woods (the falcon).

When Snowball says, "I hope I live to regret this," he's not talking about the movie, surely.

Reviewed on: 18 Jul 2002
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The mouse who lives like a boy makes friends with a bird.
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Director: Rob Minkoff

Writer: Bruce Joel Rubin, based on characters from Stuart Little by E B White

Starring: Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, Jonathan Lipnicki, the voices of Michael J Fox, Nathan Lane, Melanie Griffith, James Woods

Year: 2002

Runtime: 78 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US

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