Danny (Lee Montgomery, Burnt Offerings) is a lonely young boy with heart problems. He makes friends with a rat he calls Ben. His mother and older sister are disturbed by his choice of companion, especially when Ben and his fellow rats attack a boy who bullied Danny. Eventually Ben and his gang do so much damage to the town that the police get involved, but Danny won’t give up his friend.
I first saw Ben when I was about Danny’s age. It has a bit of nostalgia factor for me, especially since Ben looks like my own childhood pet rat Blacky. Some of Ben’s colleagues also resemble rats I once had. That said, I’m not sure how I sat through it as a kid, because as an adult I found it pretty boring. I wish it would focus more on Danny and his family than cops and random people being startled by a mob of rats. It’s not inappropriate for children, as there is little in the way of swearing or gore. It’s actually PG. It tends to feel like a children’s movie at times, with goofy scenes like Danny putting on a puppet show and singing. My husband Andrew, who was on the computer adjacent to me, asked me if it was a comedy. It’s fairly easy to follow; I spent a good portion of the movie texting my friend Harold and watching Mortal Kombat babalities.
There are some plot points that are thought-provoking, like the fact that there are more rats than people in the world. Also, Ben is somewhat of a sympathetic character—he defends Danny and makes him happy. Too bad he’s such a pest. If you’re in the mood for cute rats and accurate squeaky noises (and exaggerated sniffing noises) check this one out.