In STUART LITTLE, a human family in New York City adopts a little white mouse named Stuart, who has trouble fitting in despite his big courageous heart. The parents’ human son at first shuns the new addition to the family, but the two become close friends during a toy boat race in Central Park. Things get a little hairy for Stuart when a group of alley cats decide to “scratch him out.” Stuart’s new family becomes distraught looking for him, but help soon arrives for the plucky little fellow from an unexpected source.
STUART LITTLE is a cute family movie with excellent special effects that make the action come alive. It is also wonderfully nutty at times. The children at the screening seemed to enjoy the story and the characters. Michael J. Fox does a marvelous job of being the voice of Stuart the mouse. Nathan Lane gives his usual sarcastic performance as Snowball the housecat. Furthermore, Geena Davis is positively endearing as Mrs. Little. The pro-family and redemptive messages in the movie are marred only by four mild obscenities and a very mild possible nod to the politically-correct philosophies behind today’s identity politics
(BB, C, PC, L, V, M) Moral worldview about supporting & looking out for family members plus redemptive element of potentially sacrificing your own life for the safety of another & very mild political correctness reminding one of identity politics of the far left, but done in the context of a moral universe; 4 mild obscenities (two “d” words, 1 “heck” & 1 “b-tt”), mouse character says “Oh, dear” several times when disturbed or in trouble & bullying cats pass gas; mild family movie violence such as intelligent mouse falls down laundry chute & almost drowns in washer, housecat tries to eat mouse, conceited little boy crashes his toy boat into toy boats of other kids during race, alley cats chase mouse to “scratch him out,” & toy car & cats fall into water; and, villainous characters deceive the hero & his adoptive family.
Earlier this year, filmmaker George Lucas was criticized for creating a completely digital character, Jar-Jar Binks, in a live action movie, STAR WARS: EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE. Jar-Jar, however, was not the main character and mostly served as a comic foil who mimics the serious heroics of the lead actors and actress. Now, along comes Columbia’s live action family movie, STUART LITTLE, where a digitized mouse is the star and the hero.
Michael J. Fox gives voice to Stuart Little, a small white mouse adopted by the Littles, a human family in New York City played by Geena Davis, Jonathan Lipnicki and Hugh Laurie. At first, Mr. and Mrs. Little’s human son, George (Lipnicki), is upset that his parents didn’t return with a human baby brother. Moreover, when relatives come over bearing gifts, including a bowling ball and a bicycle, George exclaims, “Are you nuts! He’s a mouse!” George and Stuart become friends one day, however, when they play with George’s toys, which are, of course, just the right size for Stuart.
Based on their new friendship, George and Stuart decide to finish a toy boat that George and his dad plan to enter in the annual race in Central Park. When a man carelessly steps on the controls, Stuart takes over at the wheel of the boat and wins the race. Stuart finally feels like he is part of the family, especially when George tells another kid, “He’s not a mouse. He’s my brother!”
All is not well, however. The family housecat, Snowball, voiced by comic actor Nathan Lane, asks a villainous alley cat named Smokey to help him get rid of Stuart. Smokey forces two adult mice to claim that they’re Stuart’s real family. When that plan goes awry and Stuart starts to return home to the Littles, Smokey and his pals decide they have to “scratch him out.” The rest of the movie is an exciting, funny chase sequence, with some interesting plot developments that reveal what it really means to be a family.
STUART LITTLE is a cute family movie with excellent special effects that make the action come alive. It is also a little marvelously nutty at times. The children in the screening audience generally seemed to enjoy the story and the characters. Michael J. Fox does a wonderful job of being the voice of Stuart the mouse. Nathan Lane gives his usual sarcastic performance as Snowball the housecat. Furthermore, Geena Davis is positively endearing as Mrs. Little.
There are only a couple minor problems in the story. The pro-family message could have been stronger, without the very mild politically correct elements about Stuart not fitting in with the human world and not fitting in with the cat-mouse world, where mice are supposed to be the cat’s dinner, not one of the cat’s owners. One cat even says, “That’s against the laws of nature.” Despite this, there is a redemptive aspect to the story, where three shady characters have a change of heart and help out Stuart, at the potential cost of their own safety.
Also, unlike last year’s A BUG’S LIFE, to which MOVIEGUIDE® gave a slightly higher acceptability rating, STUART LITTLE contains two uses of the “d” word and a crude use of “b-tt,” plus several jokes about characters passing gas. Even so, most parents will probably feel pretty safe taking their children to see STUART LITTLE. It’s a nutty fairy tale with much to recommend it.
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