Stuart Little

1999, Movie, PG, 92 mins

Review

STUART LITTLE
starstarstarstar
A charming, technically sensational version of E.B. White's children's classic. The Littles (Geena Davis and Hugh Laurie), all-around swell parents, decide to adopt a younger brother for nine-year-old George (Jonathan Lipnicki). At the orphanage, however, they meet and immediately fall in love with the titular computer-generated mouse (voiced, a tad cloyingly, by Michael J. Fox). George is, of course, nonplussed by the whole idea, and Stuart's assimilation isn't made easier by family cat Snowbell (Nathan Lane). Humiliated at having Stuart for a master instead of lunch, Snowbell arranges a rodent hit with the help of some local alley cats, including boss Smokey (Chazz Palminteri, in what amounts to a feline reprise of his small-time wiseguy character in A BRONX TALE). Various plot machinations later, Snowbell is redeemed, the bad kitties get their comeuppance, George comes to love his diminutive brother, and the family learns that there's a little Stuart Little in all of us. All that uplift, of course, is not terribly surprising (though it's sure to make kids happy), and may strike White purists as just a wee bit sappier than the master intended. Fortunately for most other adults, there's also plenty to admire: the film's gorgeous stylized soundstage recreation of Manhattan and Brooklyn; a gloriously kinetic toy-ship race around the Central Park boat basin; amazing "how'd-they-do-that" cat special effects; and direction by Rob Minkoff that actually makes a virtue of shooting from a mouse-eye level. leave a comment --Steve Simels

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