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Stuart Little 1 & 2

Stuart Little (March 21/01)

As long as you can get past the idea that a couple can adopt a talking mouse and accept him as their own child, you'll probably enjoy Stuart Little. No explanation is given for that, by the way; the movie just takes place in some sort of alternate reality where mice and humans live together in harmony. And people can hear the talking mice, but for some reason, they can't understand talking cats. At any rate, Stuart Little (the movie, not the mouse) follows the Little family as they adopt a mouse named Stuart. And then much wackiness ensues. That's pretty much the formula for the entire movie: One wacky situation is quickly replaced by another wacky situation. Watch as Stuart gets into a tussle with the family cat! Gasp as Stuart gets caught in the washing machine! Etc, etc. Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie and Jonathon "Meego" Lipnicki star as the Littles and Michael J. Fox provides the voice of Stuart. And Stuart is the real reason to see this movie. Though he's completely animated, Stuart feels like a living, breathing character and not just something created in a computer. The look of the movie is also quite interesting, as it never constrains itself to one time period. The Littles and their house are completely retro - like something out of the '40s - but everyone around them are contemporary. At a running time of less than 90 minutes, Stuart Little is never boring. But that all really depends on whether or not you're willing to go along with the whimsical and unbelievable nature of the tale.

out of

Stuart Little 2 (December 28/05)

A distinct improvement over its predecessor, Stuart Little 2 follows young Stuart (again voiced by Michael J. Fox) as he attempts to save an equally diminutive bird from an evil falcon named - appropriately enough - Falcon (James Woods). Human stars Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, and Jonathan Lipnicki reprise their roles as Stuart's family, while Rob Minkoff assumes the reins behind the camera (original screenwriters Greg Booker and M. Night Shyamalan have been replaced by Bruce Joel Rubin). Rubin, the underrated scripter of films such as Ghost and My Life, infuses Stuart Little 2 with a cohesiveness that was notably absent from the first film and does an effective job of peppering the story with several genuinely exciting action sequences (the surprisingly clever dialogue doesn't hurt, either). With the exception of Melanie Griffith - who delivers an expectedly grating and obnoxious performance - virtually every single role has been perfectly cast, with Woods especially good as the villainous Falcon (Davis and Laurie, channeling June and Ward Cleaver, are also a lot of fun). The film's conclusion, featuring an air chase between Stuart (in a miniature plane!) and Falcon, is appropriately rousing, and although the epilogue goes on a few minutes longer than necessary, that's a fairly minor complaint for a movie that is otherwise unusually enjoyable.

out of

About the DVD: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, in preparation for the upcoming direct-to-video Stuart Little 3, has repackaged both Stuart Little and Stuart Little 2 with a bonus disc that contains a six-minute SL3 preview, a music video, and a featurette on how to draw Snowbell. Stuart Little and its sequel are both full-fledged special editions, and come armed with commentary tracks, documentaries, music videos, and more.
© David Nusair