Nine Queens

Gina Davis, Michael J Fox, Melanie Griffiths.
Directed by Rob Minkoff.
Running Time: 78 mins
Rated: G

Stuart Little (Fox) is a mouse. Everyone around him knows that, but Mum (Davis), Dad, (Hugh Laurie), George (Jonathan Lipnicki) and the Snowbell the cat (Nathan Lane) treat him like an ordinary boy. In this sequel Stuart is exploring the boundaries at home and beyond with his ever-anxious mother standing by. When a bird named Margalo (Griffiths) takes cover from Falcon (James Wood) by landing in Stuart's car, he thinks he has found his soul mate. But Margalo's presence in the Little home is not by accident. Things around the home start to disappear. Sorting Margalo out ends up involving the whole family.

Stuart Little 2 is a delight. All bets are off before we walk into the cinema. We do not have to think about whether this film makes sense, so we can just enjoy the ride. That's easy here because this clever story about growing up, friendship and deceit is good for all ages. The production values are very high, the special effects are outstanding and the popular songs have been carefully chosen to reinforce the film's images and solid message.

To act in this film, however, is harder than it looks. Sight lines are critical and playing off a character whom the actor never sees on set is not easy. The adults all verge on storybook cut-outs, but the voice-overs from Fox and especially Nathan Lane as the caustic cat Snowbell are perfectly pitched.

Though it's a buzz to see how much children enjoy these films, you don't need one to go to Stuart Little 2, so line up and see why.

Richard Leonard SJ

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