Stuart Little 2

Stuart Little 2 is one of the rare sequels to surpass its predecessor. However, this applies to the film as a whole. There are some things that are better, and some that are worse than the first one. It also helps that the original Stuart Little was not much of a movie, even though it made an obscene amount of money at the box office. Stuart Little 2 picks up shortly after the events of the first one. Stuart (voiced by Michael J. Fox, Atlantis, Stuart Little) is living comfortably in the Little household with is adoptive family, including a new baby sister (a pointless addition since she essentially disappears from the movie until the end). Gone is the adjustment period that made the first movie a little awkward at times. Stuart is in his groove, he is comfortable, and the movie can progress without setting much up. The only problem now is that although he is comfortable, he still needs friends.

George (Jonathan Lipnicki, Like Mike, Stuart Little) is now friends with Stuart, although he has other friends. These other friends sometimes fail to invite Stuart to play, which is never great for any kid's self-esteem. Things improve greatly when a bird named Margalo (voiced by Melanie Griffith, Cecil B. Demented, Crazy in Alabama) literally drops into his car. She is trying to escape from Falcon (voiced by James Woods, John Q., Riding in Cars with Boys). Stuart takes her in, mends her wing, and finds himself with a new friend. Margalo moves in and the family has a blast, then she and Eleanor Little's (Geena Davis, Stuart Little, The Long Kiss Goodnight) wedding ring mysteriously disappears. Thinking that Falcon kidnapped her, Stuart enlists the help of Snowbell (voiced by Nathan Lane, Trixie, Titan A.E.) to look for her.

What is surprising is that there is a good amount of depth to story by Douglas Wick and Bruce Joel Rubin (Deep Impact, My Life). It has the standard children's movie convention of posing a moral question and giving the right answer and providing a happy ending, but it meshes well with the story. The special effects are also better, partially because Stuart is doing a lot more than he did in the first one. Plus, Falcon and Margalo are two other computer-animated characters to work with. Stuart looked great the first time around, and he looks even better now, be it driving in his car or flying in his airplane. And Fox has the perfect voice and does a great job of voicing Stuart.

The same does not apply for the other actors. Under director Rob Minkoff (Stuart Little, The Lion King), Stuart has such a prominent role that the human actors receive less time on screen. They are already simplistic, and their marginal appearances make them appear almost buffoonishly good-natured. Davis and Hugh Laurie (Maybe Baby, Stuart Little) act in a manner consistent with children's movies - exaggerated everything, and because they have no depth it makes their performances less desirable. Lane also has too many one-liners this time (undoubtedly to appease parents) and many of them fall flat, which also gives a sour taste to the movie. The running time is also extremely short, so that little tykes can pay attention for the duration and so adults can feel bored for a smaller amount of time.

Haro Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 18 minutes, Rated PG for mild language.

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