EW Staff
November 16, 1999 AT 05:00 AM EST

Stuart Little

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG
runtime
84 minutes
performer
Michael J. Fox, Jonathan Lipnicki, Geena Davis, David Alan Grier, Jeffrey Jones, Bruno Kirby, Nathan Lane, Hugh Laurie, Chazz Palminteri, Stan Freberg, Jennifer Tilly, Steve Zahn
director
Rob Minkoff
distributor
Columbia Pictures
author
M. Night Shyamalan
genre
Kids and Family, Comedy

We gave it a B

If Stuart Little’s status is to be measured by how much it cost to get him, then he’s bigger than Hanks and Cruise put together. Bringing E.B. White’s creation — a well-spoken, spiffy mouse who’s adopted by human parents — to life ate up nearly half of the movie’s reported $90 million budget.

And turning him into a realistic, three-dimensional animated character in a live-action film required not only cutting-edge animatronic technology but also the special touches of director Minkoff, who cohelmed ”The Lion King,” and John Dykstra, the visual-effects supervisor for the original ”Star Wars.” The team modeled Stuart’s humanlike mannerisms on old Charlie Chaplin skits and actor Bill Irwin’s movements. ”It’ll make you say, ‘Wait a minute, how is that possible?”’ promises producer Doug Wick.

Sony also has high hopes: Last year the studio signed licensing deals with Hasbro to develop a line of tie-in toys, and with HarperCollins to publish seven new ”Stuart Little” books in time for Christmas. Unfortunately, there were no trinkets around to help the real-life actors feel closer to their furry cohort. Instead, they built Stuart a mini-RV as a reminder of who the real star was. ”We had to learn how to love space,” says Davis, who often had to kiss the air during her scenes with the mouse. Isn’t that just like a star, to go hide in his trailer when you need him? BUZZ FACTOR: 5

Go to the official website.

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