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By Michael Dequina | July 22, 2002

For those that fall under its sub-age-7 target audience, “Stuart Little 2” is a five-star film. This sequel to the 1999 adaptation of E.B. White’s novel about a mouse adopted by a human family is basically more of the same, and depending on who you are, that’s either an encouraging statement or a warning. For me, it’s more of the latter.

In the time that has passed since the original, Stuart (again voiced by Michael J. Fox) has settled in nicely with his family: mother (Geena Davis, looking lobotomized), father (Hugh Laurie), older brother George (Jonathan Lipnicki), and infant sister. But perhaps things have settled too much, for as the case with any family that grows older, the Littles are slowly growing apart, with Mom doting on the baby, Dad busy with work, and George preferring the company of his other friends. Stuart finds the friend he longs for literally falling from the sky in the form of Margalo (voiced by Melanie Griffith, her natural chirpiness fitting a role for once), a free-spirited canary fleeing from a nasty falcon (voiced by James Woods).

Margalo and Stuart become fast friends, but there is, of course, more to this little birdie than she lets on. The twists won’t come as much of a surprise to any adults, but those in the audience fitting that bill would more than likely be parents who are all too willing to cut any kid-friendly film slack. For more discriminating older viewers, “Stuart Little 2” is another of those vanilla, so-called “family films” that really don’t offer much of interest to grown-ups. The seamless integration of the CG animal characters with real-life ones and the general storybook look of the film remains impressive, but this being the second go-round it’s that less dazzling; ditto for Nathan Lane’s amusing wisecracks as the voice of Snowbell the cat. Not that any of this will matter to that target audience, who will surely, sadly make “Stuart Little 2” outgross the far more creative, flat-out fun, and truly all-ages appealing The Powerpuff Girls in its first day of business.

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