A significant improvement over its plotless, meandering predecessor, "Stuart Little 2" is fun-loving, low calorie, big-city adventure for the seamlessly computer-animated talking mouse with the effervescent voice of Michael J. Fox.
In this sequel the fuzzy, Lilliputian adopted son of the Little clan -- which includes Stuart's human brother (Jonathan Lipnicki) and his silly, sacchariney, storybook-perfect parents (Hugh Laurie and Geena Davis) -- brings home a spirited sweetheart of a canary named Margalo (Melanie Griffith's voice) after rescuing her from a falcon.
When she later disappears -- along with Mrs. Little's wedding ring -- naive, good-hearted Stuart is convinced the falcon has snatched her away and sets out on a rescue mission, dragging along a very reluctant Snowball, the Littles' pampered house cat with the Vaudevillian voice of Nathan Lane.
Director Rob Minkoff does waste time on a couple soft-sell pop music montage sequences, and sticks us with a transparent plot and an far-fetched finale full of "why didn't he just [fill in the blank]?" moments. But he makes up for these elementary problems by fixing nearly everything that went wrong with the 1999 film.
He nurtures a real story arc (instead of unrelated episodes slapped together). He throws a bone to parents in the audience with bits of humor that are either too fast or too subtle for kiddie crowd. Most refreshingly, he allows Nathan Lane much funnier dialogue to deliver as prissy, petulant Snowball. "Giving up is fun," the scaredy cat tries to convince a determined Stuart, "and look at the time you save!"
"Little 2" is also a visual treat, taking place in a Crayola-colored New York City and featuring such incredible CGI animation of Stuart, Margalo and Falcon (given the delightfully villainous voice of James Woods) that even in close-up they're literally undistinguishable from the live-action around them.
This "Stuart Little" may still have little in common with the E.B. White book that inspired its creation, save a few characters' names. But it's a family matinee flick that's truly worth the price of admission for everyone, no matter what the source of the story.
Run time: 77 mins
In Theaters: Friday 19th July 2002
Box Office USA: $64.7M
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Production compaines: Sony Pictures Entertainment, Columbia Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Fresh: 99 Rotten: 23
IMDB: 5.4 / 10
Director: Rob Minkoff
Starring: Michael J. Fox as Voice of Stuart Little, Geena Davis as Mrs. Eleanor Little, Hugh Laurie as Mr. Frederick Little, Jonathan Lipnicki as George Little, Anna Hoelck as Martha Little, Ashley Hoelck as Martha Little, Nathan Lane as Snowbell (voice), Melanie Griffith as Margalo the Bird (voice), James Woods as The Evil Falcon (voice), Steve Zahn as Monty the Alley-Cat (voice), Maria Bamford as Teacher, Kevin Olson as Irwin (as Kevin Johnson Olson), Rachael Harris as Additional Voices (voice), Marc John Jefferies as Will, George's Friend
Also starring: Michael J Fox
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