Stuart Little

***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Being a little guy in a big family can be tough. Being a mouse in the Little family is great, because you have your own room and even if George, the already-there son, doesn't take you seriously as a new brother, maybe in time, after helping him build his toy boat, you could be buddies. There is one problem, however. Its name is Snowball. You call him Snow to be friendly. It doesn't work.

Snowball is a cat and cats eat rodent-sized things. Stuart is a good talker. He stops Snow in his tracks with a diatribe on the value of living together in harmony, "as family." Snow listens and then shakes his white fluff. "I can't believe this," he says. "I'm arguing with lunch. If the other cats hear of this I'm ruined."

The idea that Mr and Mr Little (Hugh Laurie and Geena Davis) would go to an orphanage to chose a child and come away with an animal as articulate and well dressed as Stuart, is wonderfully wacky. The trouble is they are characterless, naively sentimental and extremely unlikely to indulge in anything remotely off-the-wall.

Snowball and the street cats talk Babe-style. They have a contract out on Stuart. Once he leaves the house, he's toast. He doesn't know this, of course, because he's forced by the script to go all mushy about the wonders of happy families.

The model work is terrific. Stuart is a great guy, when he's not feeling sorry for himself. The filmmakers let him down by not being daring enough.

The Littles, including George, are squeaky dull. Snowball (voice of Nathan Lane) and Stuart (voice of Michael J Fox) steal what remains of the show. If only it had been more exciting and less preachy on the importance of being nice to those who are less fortunate - i.e. short and dressed in mouse suits. "Is that what you think?" Stuart says. "You have to look alike to be family?" Well, it helps

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Stuart Little packshot
A family adopt a mouse... much to the upset of the household cat.
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Director: Rob Minkoff

Writer: M Night Shyamalan, Greg Brooker

Starring: Michael J. Fox, Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, Jonathan Lipnicki, Nathan Lane, Chazz Palminteri, Steve Zahn, Jim Doughan, David Alan Grier, Bruno Kirby, Jennifer Tilly

Year: 1999

Runtime: 84 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US

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