The Little family’s looking for
Another member to adore,
And George insists his dad and mother
Bring him home a little brother.
The only one who “clicks” for them
Is tiny Stuart who’s – ahem –
An orphan mouse who somehow speaks;
He is the one the family seeks.
They take him home, but George is stunned
And walks off, leaving Stuart shunned.
Their cat named Snowbell must remember –
Never eat a family member.
Since Stuart’s small, one can suppose
That risks abound, like washing clothes.
It seems he just cannot fit in
With all his newfound next of kin.
But when he finds his brother’s room,
He plays with George, dispelling gloom.
They’re soon real brothers and embark
On racing boats in Central Park.
Though George’s rival tries to cheat,
Small Stuart hazards to compete
And helps his brother’s boat to win;
At last, it seems he does fit in.
But then two mice come for the lad
And claim to be his mom and dad.
He joins them, thinking that they are,
And leave in George’s own toy car.
They soon find out those mice, the Stouts,
Were lying. (Who else had their doubts?)
It turns out Stuart’s family group
Died in a mishap with some soup.
Snowbell had bargained with a cat
To somehow get the mouse to scat.
The Stouts got Stuart from the house;
Now Smokey wants to kill the mouse.
The Stouts admit their subterfuge
And warn him of the cat deluge
That’s on its way to make him chow;
He knows that he’s a Little now.
In Central Park, the cats attack,
But he evades them and gets back
To where all Littles know they’ll find
Their home, but Snowbell is unkind.
He lies and ousts him out of spite,
While Stuart’s folks are out that night.
They’re searching for their missing son.
Snow soon feels bad for what he’s done.
The cats chase Stuart up a tree.
On eating him they all agree.
But Snow redeems himself as a pet,
And all the bad cats end up wet.
The cat and mouse, no longer foes,
Go to the home each Little knows.
Relieved, they all are glad to be
One happy Little family.

Stuart Little is a great family film based on the classic children’s book by E. B. White, though it has a different plot and ending. The Oscar-nominated special effects that bring Stuart and the Stouts to life are amazing, even if their computerized origin is obvious at times. The speaking effects for the cats are almost better than those in Babe, and I love how the cats were clearly trained to do all their own stunts, so to speak.

While the human characters’ speech sounds like dialogue from a kids’ book, the best lines and moments go to Stuart (Michael J. Fox), Snowbell (Nathan Lane), and the alley cats (Steve Zahn as Monty, et al.). The script (which was worked on by some surprising names, such as M. Night Shymalan and David O. Russell) is chock full of great lines that anyone can use in day-to-day conversation, such as Snowbell’s “Talk to the butt” and Monty’s ingratiating “Pleeease.” Almost every character is likable in some way, even Smokey since he reminds my family of my mom’s old cat. Who would have foreseen, though, that Hugh Laurie (Mr. Little) would go on to play that jerk doctor on “House”?

The lovable characters, quirky concept, message about family and belonging, and dearth of anything objectionable make Stuart Little a marvelous film for families to enjoy together.

Best line: (one of the alley cats, when Stuart is hanging from a branch) “It’s mouse on a stick. I love mouse on a stick.”

VC’s best line: (toy salesman describing the Ben action figure’s clothes) “There are many moods of Ben.”

Artistry: 5
Characters/Actors: 7
Entertainment: 7
Visual Effects: 7
Originality: 5
Watchability: 5
Other (nothing objectionable; I just like other films more): -5
TOTAL: 31 out of 60

Next: #302: A Walk to Remember

© 2014 S. G. Liput