review for Stuart Little on AllMovie

Stuart Little (1999)
by Derek Armstrong review

Stuart Little surprised everyone by grossing a decidedly non-little $140 million and playing theaters for months, proving that the box-office rejuvenation of talking animal movies had legs beyond Babe. In fact, though much can be said for the digital title character and his agreeable family of human actors, the talking cats take the cake in this one, starting with the envious, salivating feline voiced by Nathan Lane. Beyond Lane's dynamite line readings, the animators do the subtlest job yet of giving the cat recognizable facial expressions that don't look cartoonish. Never has a house pet seemed so believably exasperated as with the marriage of Lane's sarcasm and the Oscar-nominated visual effects supervised by Eric Allard. This is to say nothing of the seamless way the CGI mouse blends with his human family and real backdrops, cleverly interacting with household appliances and other size-appropriate parts of his environment. Beyond the winning cat-mouse rivalry, Stuart Little offers useful messages to children about adoption and accepting those who are different. It also provides a wonderful showcase for Michael J. Fox, who proves he can remain active in the movies as a vocal talent even if his Parkinson's keeps him from appearing onscreen. Stuart Little may not have quite the crossover appeal to adults as other contemporary family hits, such as Babe or the Toy Story movies, but it's an unqualified winner with a stature that defies its name.