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Rated 2.98 stars
by 939 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
He's a Mouse, for Cryin' Out Loud
by Ian Waldron-Mantgani

Something has always bothered me about the Stuart Little phenomenon. You will recall that the first movie was about some synthetically cutesy humans who went to an orphanage, adopted a mouse and glared at it with unquestioning affection. The eldest son declared his family to be crazy, but as everyone else seemed to love the little thing, he eventually caved in and decided to embrace it. Movie audiences looked on lovingly and sighed at what a beauty Stuart was, even though it's plain to see he's an annoying little rodent. Nobody likes mice in real life, but people liked Stuart because the movie's shots and music cues told them that they should.

To me, the whole thing was creepy. Unintentionally, Stuart Little was a parable about the futility of individual thought in the face of mass hysteria. Leave your common sense behind, it said, and embrace what we tell you. Go with the flow; you know you can't protest forever.

There's less of that in Stuart Little 2, which pretty much accepts the fantasy of a talking mouse on its own terms, and is less obsessed with showing objections to the situation. Geena Davis, who plays Stuart's adoptive mother, has worries about whether he will be safe playing soccer, and muses on his small size as if it's still a surprise, but at least the movie isn't a deliberate attempt to zombify us into seeing its point of view.

The story this time round involves Stuart (voiced by Michael J. Fox) falling in love with a little yellow bird (voiced by Melanie Griffith), before going on some chases across New York City and teaming up with various pets to defeat a malevolent falcon (voiced by James Woods). There are plenty of shots at home, too, with Stuart's human brother (Jonathan Lipnicki) and parents (Davis and Hugh Laurie) giving each other gooey moral support over every little thing.

Never mind the plot; the reason people will see the film will be to gaze at the wuvvly little animals, and to absorb the warmth of the Little household. Either you respond to this stuff or you don't, and I didn't. It's all a bit too bizarrely sugary. Davis and Laurie play a simpering, phoney and overly polished couple whose speech and body language seem like those of characters from 1950s dishwasher commercials. And I still can't relate to Stuart: He's a mouse, for cryin' out loud, and all he does is milk it with despondent eyes and whine that nobody treats him human enough. I will not be watching Stuart Little 3.

The film is well made, vibrant and, at 77 minutes, thankfully short. I wouldn't take my kids to see it, but people who get a kick out of this stuff will get their money's worth. The only thing bringing a smile to my face is Snowball, the family cat. As voiced by Nathan Lane, he's simply a dude, what with his attempts to eat Stuart in the first movie, and the sardonic, wittering, shamelessly self-absorbed style of being that he displays in both. He delivers some hilariously cynical lines, such as when the family baby first speaks, and his response is: "When she can drop out of a tree and still land on her feet, then I'll be impressed."

(Review also posted at

Released by Columbia Pictures and rated "PG" for brief mild language. 

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