Stuart Little is a good example of what can go wrong in adapting a classic children's novel to the big screen. Sure Stuart is cute, and the story is somewhat amusing, but the essence of the book by E.B. White is gone, replaced by action sequences typical in larger productions. Stuart (voiced by Michael J. Fox, The Frighteners, ABCs Spin City) is an orphan mouse adopted by the Little family, played by Hugh Laurie (The Borrowers, The Man in the Iron Mask) and Geena Davis (The Long Kiss Goodnight, Cutthroat Island). Almost all of the Littles are overjoyed with Stuart. George Little (Jonathan Lipnicki, Jerry Maguire, Dr. Doolittle) wanted a little brother, not a little mouse. Additionally, the Little's pet cat Snowbell (voiced by Nathan Lane, At First Sight, Get Bruce) is dismayed that one of his new masters is a mouse.
The rest of the movie is about as predictable as white bread. Stuart wants to be accepted. He wants a family and a place where he can belong; a real home. George, or course, will grow to like Stuart, and instead of this happening gradually, it happens in the blink of an eye. The rest of the story is about a plan Snowbell hatches to get rid of Stuart. He concocts a plan with some alley cats to eliminate Stuart. No surprise there. Will Stuart escape and return to the Little house? Will He finally find a true home? Duh. Children will undoubtedly enjoy this movie. It is the adults who will remain bored. Good children's movies (Toy Story 2, A Little Princess) are enjoyable by people of all ages, while Stuart Little panders to the cuteness factor. Mr. and Mrs. Little are living fortune cookies, spouting off terse homilies about love and family. Lipnicki (this kid doesn't look like he's grown a day since Jerry Maguire) is merely annoying. Lane gives a marginally amusing performance, but his many one liners fall flat quickly.
The look of the film, however, is good. For the most part, the computer generated Stuart looks real. The lip-synching of the animals is also good, but Babe this movie is not. The Littles obviously do not live in our world. Instead, they live in a world that seems to resemble a living cartoon. The Little house is a small brownstone sandwiched between two imposing skyscrapers. The colors are as bright and happy, as any children's film should be. Direction by Rob Minkoff (The Lion King) and a dull script by M. Night Shyamalan (red-hot after his work on The Sixth Sense) and Gregory J. Brooker are not able to save this movie. Moreover, if you happen to fall asleep, the nonstop score (sounding like something out of a fifties sitcom) will remind you that the movie is not over yet. Take your kids to see the movie if you must, but it would be better to sit down and read the story with your children, which is much more enjoyable.
|Haro Rates It: Okay|
|1 hour, 23 minutes, Rated PG for brief language.|
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