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Stuart Little (film)

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Stuart Little
A smiling white mouse standing atop a big sneaker. A blue suitcase sits beside it.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRob Minkoff
Screenplay by
Based onStuart Little
by E. B. White
Produced byDouglas Wick
Starring
CinematographyGuillermo Navarro
Edited byTom Finan
Music byAlan Silvestri
Production
companies
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing[2]
Release date
  • December 17, 1999 (1999-12-17)
Running time
84 minutes[3]
Countries
  • United States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$105[4]–133 million[5]
Box office$300.1 million[5]

Stuart Little is a 1999 American live action/computer-animated family comedy film loosely based on the 1945 novel of the same name by E. B. White. Directed by Rob Minkoff in his live-action debut, the screenplay was written by M. Night Shyamalan and Greg Brooker, and stars Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, and Jonathan Lipnicki, alongside the voices of Michael J. Fox, Nathan Lane, Chazz Palminteri, Steve Zahn, Bruno Kirby, and Jennifer Tilly.

The film was released on December 17, 1999 by Columbia Pictures.[5] The film received generally positive reviews, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, losing to The Matrix.[6] The first film in the Stuart Little series, it was followed by a sequel Stuart Little 2 in 2002, the short-lived television series Stuart Little in 2003, and another sequel in 2005, the direct-to-video Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild. It was Estelle Getty's final film role before her retirement in 2001 and her death in July 2008.

Plot[edit]

Eleanor and Frederick Little are intending to adopt a new family member. They go to an orphanage where they meet and adopt an anthropomorphic mouse named Stuart. However, Stuart is greeted coldly by their older son George, who refuses to acknowledge him as his brother, and the family's cat, Snowbell, who tried to eat him.

Stuart's life with the Littles gets off to a bad start when George unknowingly throws him down the laundry chute with his pajamas and Eleanor puts him in the washing machine where he ends up submerged and swallows a lot of detergent making him really sick. He begins to feel like an outcast in the family when they bring him gifts and George snaps at them claiming that Stuart isn't his brother but simply a mouse. When Stuart admits he is lonely the Littles ask Mrs. Keeper to find Stuart's real parents.

Stuart finally bonds with George when they start playing together and plan to finish George's remote-controlled racing sailboat, Wasp, for an upcoming boat race on Conservatory Water in Central Park. However, Monty, Snowbell's alley cat friend, visits the house and discovers Stuart. Snowbell later goes with Monty to an alley to meet with Smokey, an alley cat mobster working for a mafia gang of other alley cats, who agrees with Snowbell to have Stuart removed from the household at his request.

Stuart and George finish Wasp in time for the race, but on the day of the race, the controller is smashed by accident. Stuart pilots Wasp himself, but ends up in a tussle with a larger boat piloted by George's bully, Anton. Stuart manages to win the race, gaining George's respect. However, during the family celebration, the Littles are visited by a mouse couple, Camille and Reginald Stout, who claim to be Stuart's birth parents who sent him to the orphanage due to poverty. Reluctantly, Stuart leaves with the Stouts and George gives him his favorite toy car as a farewell gift.

A few days later, Mrs. Keeper arrives at their house and reveals the truth to the Littles that Stuart's real birth parents died many years ago in an accident at a supermarket. Realizing that the Stouts are imposters, the Littles call the police, who begin a search operation. However, it is revealed that the Stouts were actually sent by Smokey, who had tricked them into posing as Stuart's parents and forced them to abduct Stuart from the Little household with the intention of having him brought over to the alley cat gang so they can kill Stuart.

Snowbell talks with Smokey, who insists that he and his gang should kill Stuart instead and calls a meeting with Reginald. However, he and Camille have grown to love Stuart like the Littles did and reveal the truth to him. In Central Park, Stuart finds himself confronted by Smokey and his gang, who chase him through the park and into a sewer drain, where he manages to outrun them, but loses his car and luggage in the process. Stuart returns home, only to find that the Littles are already gone. Stuart enters the house where he meets Snowbell, who lies to him about the Littles enjoying themselves greatly since Stuart's departure. Feeling unwanted, a heartbroken Stuart leaves and becomes discouraged.

The Littles return home with no success in finding Stuart. Meanwhile, Smokey, Monty and the other alley cats manage to trace Stuart back to Central Park and bring Snowbell along for the hunt. Snowbell, having redeemed himself since he felt guilty over his selfishness, finds Stuart and rescues him from the cats while admitting that he lied. Although Snowbell defeats Monty and the other cats by snapping the tree branch on which they are standing, Smokey attempts to kill him upon discovering his betrayal, only for Stuart to intervene and save Snowbell by hitting Smokey in the face with another branch and knocking him out of the tree. Stuart and Snowbell eventually return home, where Stuart happily reunites with the Little family, telling them that Snowbell actually found him and helped him on the way back.

Cast[edit]

Live-action cast[edit]

Voice cast[edit]

  • Michael J. Fox as Stuart Little, an anthropomorphic mouse who is adopted as the middle child of the Little family.
  • Nathan Lane as Snowbell, the Little family's Persian cat who dislikes Stuart.
  • Chazz Palminteri as Smokey, a sadistic Russian Blue cat with the personality of a mobster and the leader of a gang of mafia-like alley cats.
  • Steve Zahn as Monty, Snowbell's best friend and a former member of the alley cats.
  • Jim Doughan as Lucky, a Siamese cat and a member of Smokey's gang. Doughan also played Detective Allen in the film.
  • David Alan Grier as Red, a ginger American Shorthair tomcat and a member of Smokey's gang.
  • Bruno Kirby as Mr. Reginald Stout, one of Smokey's pawns, Camille's husband and Stuart's fake father.
  • Jennifer Tilly as Mrs. Camille Stout, one of Smokey's pawns, Reginald's wife and Stuart's fake mother.

Lost painting unknowingly used on set[edit]

One of the paintings used as set dressing for the Littles' home was Hungarian avant garde painter Róbert Berény's 1920s painting Sleeping Lady with Black Vase, which had long been considered lost. A set designer for the film had purchased the painting at an antiques store in Pasadena, California for $500 for use in the film, unaware of its significance. In 2009, art historian Gergely Barki, while watching Stuart Little on television with his daughter, noticed the painting, and after contacting the studios was able to track down its whereabouts.[7] In 2014, its owner sold the painting at an auction for €229,500.[8]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Stuart Little was released theatrically on December 17, 1999. On its opening weekend, Stuart Little grossed $15 million, placing it at #1 dethroning Toy Story 2. It dropped to #2 over its second weekend, but went back to #1 on its third weekend with $16 million. According to Box Office Mojo, its final gross in the United States and Canada was $140 million and it grossed $160.1 million at the international box office, for an estimated total of $300 million worldwide.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

According to Rotten Tomatoes, 67% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 97 responses with an average rating of 6.3/10. The site's consensus reads: "Critics say Stuart Little is charming with kids and adults for its humor and visual effects."[9] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 61 out of 100 from 32 reviews, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[10]

Jesus Freak Hideout said that "from start to finish, Stuart Little is a near flawless family film"[11] while Stephen Holden of The New York Times had said "the only element that doesn't completely harmonize with the rest of the film is the visually unremarkable digital figure of Stuart."[12]

Home media[edit]

Stuart Little was released on VHS and DVD on April 18, 2000 by Columbia TriStar Home Video,[13] and in the United Kingdom on November 27, 2000. It was later re-released on a Deluxe Edition on May 21, 2002, and on Blu-ray on June 28, 2011.

Soundtrack[edit]

The soundtrack album Stuart Little (Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture) was released by Motown and Universal Records on November 30, 1999, on audio CD and audio cassette. Tracks in bold do not appear in the film.

  1. "I Need to Know" – R Angels (3:54)
  2. "The Two of Us" – S Club 7 (3:35)
  3. "You're Where I Belong" – Trisha Yearwood (4:17)
  4. "If You Can't Rock Me" – The Brian Setzer Orchestra (2:40)
  5. "1+1=2" – Lou Bega (4:04)
  6. "He Rules" – 702 (3:04)
  7. "Home" – Brian McKnight (4:22)
  8. "Walking Tall" – Lyle Lovett (3:16)
  9. "Lucky Day" – Matt Goss (4:03)
  10. "Mouse in the House" – Colby O'Donis (4:34)
  11. "As Long as I Can Dream" — Debelah Morgan (4:27)
  12. "The Boat Race" – Alan Silvestri (5:12)
  13. "I'm Gonna Miss You" – Alan Silvestri (4:43)
  14. "You're Where I Belong" (Soul Solution Remix) – Trisha Yearwood (4:04)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Stuart Little". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  2. ^ "Stuart Little". AllMovie. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  3. ^ "Stuart Little". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  4. ^ "Stuart Little (1999) – Financial Information". the-numbers.com. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d "Stuart Little (1999)". Box Office Mojo. April 16, 2000. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  6. ^ "The 72nd Academy Awards". Academy Awards. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  7. ^ "Stuart Little leads art historian to long-lost Hungarian masterpiece". The Guardian. Budapest: Guardian Media Group. Agence France-Presse. November 27, 2014. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  8. ^ Laura Westbrook (December 14, 2014). "Lost painting auctioned after discovery in Stuart Little film". BBC News. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  9. ^ "Stuart Little". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  10. ^ "Stuart Little". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  11. ^ "Stuart Little". Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  12. ^ Stephen Holden (December 17, 1999). "Film Review – Extra! Sly Cat Upstages Stuart Little!". The New York Times. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  13. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (March 4, 2000). "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. – via Google Books.

External links[edit]