Danny (Lee Montgomery) is a lonely young boy with heart problems. When he befriends a wild rat, his mother and older sister are disturbed by his choice of companion, especially when Ben and his fellow rodents 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. It’s not necessarily inappropriate for children, as there is little in the way of swearing or gore–it’s actually PG. There are goofy scenes like Danny putting on a puppet show and singing. (My husband, who was sitting next to me on his computer, asked me if it was a comedy.) That said, I’m not sure how I sat through it as a kid, because as an adult I found it pretty boring; I spent a good portion of the movie texting my friend Harold and watching Mortal Kombat babalities. I wish it would focus more on Danny and his family and less on cops and random people being startled by a mob of rats.
Despite my gripes, I don’t think it’s poorly made. There are some thought-provoking and creepy plot points, like the fact that there are more rats than people in the world. Also, Ben is a pretty 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 realistic sound effects (movies often exaggerate the squeaking noises rats make) check this one out.