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STUART LITTLE 2

SYNOPSIS:
George Little (Jonathan Lipnicki) is fast outgrowing his mousy younger brother Stuart (voiced by Michael J Fox). He's making new friends at school and winning soccer games. Stuart is disheartened, but when he rescues a free spirited little bird named Margalo (voiced by Melanie Griffith) from a nasty Falcon (voiced by James Woods), the two become best friends. But Margalo is not as she seems, and when she steals Mrs Little's (Geena Davis) diamond ring for Falcon, the whole Little family - including Snowbell (Nathan Lane) - spring into action.


Review by Louise Keller:
The wonderful combination of the sweetness and the extraordinary technical accomplishments of the first film are maintained, but its overall impact falls a little flat with a storyline that never quite delivers the original magic. Sure, all our favourites are there, and it’s clear by Snowbell’s higher profile this time around, that this sensational puss with a Little purr-pose and a fluffy tail proved to be a major drawcard for audiences everywhere. And here Snowbell steals all the scenes with amazing facial contortions that are seamlessly married to Nathan Lane’s cutting one-liners and hilarious asides. Throwaways like ‘Now I’m a handy wipe with hair,’ when the baby flings a bowl of cereal on the floor are spontaneous, ridiculous and very funny. But Snowbell is a little overworked at times, with the humour being somewhat forced and bordering on ham. While the first film focused on the relationship between Stuart and his brother George, here we hone in on Stuart’s longing to have a friend of his own: someone his own size. Arriving in the shape of a cute and shapely bird with long lashes, Margalo fits the bill and there’s even a hint of a romance; the scene when the mouse and his bird are watching Hitchcock’s Vertigo on television from Stuart’s car is a cute reminder of the parallel deception. But it is good to be back in the company of this bright and colourful picture book family with its Pleasantville niceness, and as hard as it is to believe, the visual effects seem even more realistic. Stuart is so well voiced by Michael J. Fox, that it is easy to suspend our disbelief and be in tune with this lovable Little mouse that becomes an integral part of the family. Gina Davis and Hugh Laurie are swell as Mom and Dad, while Jonathan Lipnicki’s George takes a back seat, allowing the storyline to embrace its new characters. Production design is immaculate and although it’s not as inventive and playful as I would have hoped, Stuart Little 2 is still a charmer and delivers some delightful moments. Its happy heart and positive message is an added plus for a film that can be enjoyed by the young and the young at heart.

Review by Shannon J. Harvey:
The mouse is back! Not that mouse - the other mouse! Stuart Little, that tiny white computer-animated talking mouse who endeared himself in the Little household and in the hearts of audiences everywhere. He's back for another adventure that's deeper, richer and cuter than the original, and all kids big and small will find it hard to resist. Knowing the first film was a big hit, the filmmakers have stuck to the same cute little formula. The main characters are back, with the addition of Margalo and Falcon and nine month old Martha Little. This time Stuart gets a bi-plane, a girlfriend, more independence, an adventure, and a tough moral dilemma to work through. And that's good. All kids feel rejected at one stage or another - as Stuart is by George - but it's the way the mouse works through his feelings that give this sequel a weight not seen in a family film since Toy Story 2. Stuart Little 2 thus registers as a kid's movie that can also be enjoyed by older people. There's a good balance between humour, adventure and morality. It overcooks the corn sometimes, like the sickeningly sweet greeting "Little hi, little low," "little hey little ho!" And Geena Davis does her best all-American-mom routine, even packing on a few cup-sizes for a more "motherly" appearance. Melanie Griffith adds an Amelia Erhardt-style charm to Margalo. Her trip to the drive-in with Stuart - they park Stuart's red corvette in front of a tv - is a particularly nice touch, especially since they are watching Hitchcock's Vertigo and Stuart doesn't take the hint that Margalo isn't all she seems. Stuart Little 2 has a cartoonish charm that's still grounded in street-level household reality, and it should be enjoyed by the whole family as wholesome family entertainment. It's lightweight and squeaky clean - just like a mouse should be!

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

TRAILER

STUART LITTLE 2 (G)
(US)

CAST: Gina Davis, Hugh Laurie, Jonathan Lipnicki. Voices of Michael J. Fox, Nathan Lane, Steve Zahn, Melanie Griffith

PRODUCER: Douglas Wick, Lucy Fisher

DIRECTOR: Rob Minkoff

SCRIPT: Bruce Joel Rubin (story by Douglas Wick, Bruce Joel Rubin; book by E.B. White)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Steven Poster ASC

EDITOR: Priscilla Nedd-Friendly, A.C.E.

MUSIC: Alan Silvestri

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Bill Brzeski

RUNNING TIME: 78 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 19, 2002 (previews Sept. 7, 8, 14, 15, 2002)







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