Stuart Little

Year: 1999
Studio: Columbia
Director: Rob Minkoff
Writer: E B White/M Night Shyamalan/Greg Brooker
Cast: Michael J Fox, Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, Jonathan Lipnicki, Nathan Lane, Chazz Palminteri, Steve Zahn, Jannifer Tilly, Stan Freberg, Jeffrey Jones

The first thing they tell you when you're writing any kind of fantasy is to know your rules so you keep things consistent. The second thing they tell you is that you have to know the rules so you know which ones to break.

Nobody in Family Guy's Griffin household seems to think it's strange that their dog can drive a car, drinks coffee and talks to everyone else like a member of the family, or that the baby of the household has had more misadventure in his infancy (like going to fight in the Iraq war with the dog) than most people have in their lives.

There's no rules, and it works because the show plays free and easy with them in the name of laughs, which is what it's all about. Stuart Little seems to have a similar rulebook in that nobody think it's strange that a mouse can be adopted by a suburban New York couple and raised as their own son alongside his adoptive brother.

Even when the limitations and constraints of Stuart being a mouse rather than a human rear their head, nobody in the film shakes their head and says 'what did you expect, he's a mouse?', right up until the Littles' biological son George (Lipnicki) endures one too many concessions and freaks out, asking his parents (Davis and Laurie) if they know he's 'just a mouse'.

Apart from that interesting moment when the fourth wall comes to a head, the rest of the movie's a cute and charming comedy about the titular hero trying to fit in with his new family, including the cantankerous housecat Snowbell (Lane) who'd rather eat Stuart than treat him as one of the humans. After the set-up, the premise is about Snowbell and Stuart learning to be friends, particularly after Snowbell's ratted (see what I did there?) Stuart out to the fearsome local cat mafia for 'disposal'.

It's also the only time you're ever likely to see Charlotte's Web writer E B White and M Night Shyamalan mentioned together in the credits of a movie.

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