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Stuart Little 2

Starring Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, Jonathan Lipnicki
character voices by Michael J. Fox, Nathan Lane, Steve Zahn, Melanie Griffith and James Woods
Screenplay by Bruce Joel Rubin; story by Douglas Wick and Bruce Joel Rubin, based on characters created by EB White
Directed by Rob Minkoff
website: www.stuartlittle.com

IN SHORT: Saccharine times ten. [Rated PG for brief mild language.]

We surmise that one of the reasons that we, along with every other reviewer we hang with and/or respect, raved over the first adaptation of EB White's Stuart Little books to the big screen was because it perfectly represented those long tended very fond memories of our first exposure to White's books, sitting in the lap of a parent or grandparent or other grownup who would bring presents and treats. Were we surprised when the film did gangbusters and was fast tracked for a sequel? Nope. Were we happy as kidlets when we planted to see the sequel, a good two weeks before release?

It all comes down to how much (we) love (our) kids. Any kidlet under ten or twelve is still perfect fodder for the far too cutesy and sugar sweet concoction that is Stuart Little 2. So take 'em and watch their faces for signs of delight and slash or overdose. With our nieces and nephews in camp for the summer, we planted with a date for our screening -- the original Stuart Little, like Spy Kids at about the same time, was perfect dating material even we are too damned old to be doing the dating shtick. We found Stuart Little 2 to be unbearable; like eating Sweet 'n' Low right out of the pink packet (or Equal out of the blue. Your choice.)

We place the blame right on the shoulders of the script written for the human actors. Have you ever been to a family event where some really old relative you don't remember comes up and starts squeezing your cheek, cooing "Ooo! (He's) so cute...!" Mrs. Eleanor Little (Geena Davis) is well on the way to becoming that kind of person. Mr. Frederick Little (Hugh Laurie) or "dad" is still firm but loving, son George (Jonathan Lipnicki) is finally hitting that stage where he is beginning to comprehend that Stuart is a liability, and new baby sister Martha (Anna Hoelck and Ashley Hoelck) has her diaper to keep her warm.

Stuart, for his part, is told to go out and make new friends -- as if new friends are going to drop out of the sky into his lap . . . uh, they do in this universe, actually. The only fun characters to watch are the newbies, Stuart's diminutive (sort of) girl friend Margalo, a bird (Melanie Griffith) and the evil crime lord who dominates every aspect of her life from his perch at the top of the Pishkin Building, Falcoln (James Woods). As for the animal characters, Stuart is becoming as sap-infected as the rest of the Little family but the biggest disappointment is Snowball the cat (Nathan Lane). Two years with the mouse has dulled his edge and made him less cranky (not to mention less hungry for his natural prey).

If you've got kidlets in the single digits, Stuart Little 2 is still a no brainer. If you're looking to rekindle the magic of the first film, good luck. You'll need a stronger stomach than us.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Stuart Little 2, he would have paid . . .

$3.00

Only for kidlets, which means rent and let 'em gorge.

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