So I finally saw Little Children, and... meh.
About what I was expecting. A decent adaptation, but nothing great. Some strong choices, some misteps. Excellent casting and acting, for the most part. Kate Winslet and Jackie Earle Haley were indeed very good, as were (IMO) Jennifer Connelly, Patrick Wilson, and just about everyone else. Unfortunately the writing and direction never quite come together in a way that lets any of them transcend "very good." Strong acting across the board, but they never quite cohere as an ensemble.
The narration bothered me. It was an interesting choice, and might've worked, but as others have said, it is noncommital and not used to maximum effect. Sometimes it seems intrusive. Then it disappears for long stretches at a time. Occasionally, it feels just right. But only occasionally. And actually, much of the best potential narration from the book is left out, which bothered me.
This film pulled off the odd trick of feeling wildly experimental at some times and frustratingly middling at others. It seems crazy ambitious and then pulls its punches. Frustrating. But every time I started to get really peeved, there'd be another really nice moment that drew me in again. I was only very rarely bored, though I spent much time dissecting, critiquing and being disappointed by some of the film's choices. There were some rather drastic plot changes and omissions that I don't think served it well at all. But nothing truly terrible. Overall, they did a nice job. They just never found a way to make the film as great as the novel... and that's sad, but all too common. There are some great moments here, and some nice acting, it feels more like an experiment than anything. And that's fine. But it was only partially successful. Oh well.
Verdict: "Good, but coulda been better."