For anyone who has read E.B. White's wonderfully warm 1945 children's novel, Stuart Little, about an intrepid mouse who is a full-fledged member of the Little family, this slapsticky film will be a disappointment. For kids raised on repeated video viewings of Home Alone and Mouse Hunt, it will seem just swell.
Part of the whimsical appeal of White's book is that there is no explanation for how Mrs. Little came to give birth to a mouse. She just did, and everyone accepts Stuart. Here, there are laborious expository scenes in which the Littles (Davis and Laurie) adopt Stuart (digitally animated, with Michael J. Fox providing the voice) at an orphanage. Once home, Stuart goes from adventure to adventure (getting stuck in a washing machine, being menaced by cats)—resulting in a movie long on chases and short on charm. (PG)