DreamWorks Distribution | Release Date: December 19, 1997
8.4
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Universal acclaim based on 57 Ratings
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8
MovieMasterEddyApr 3, 2016
MouseHunt” is the cat’s meow. Blending the graceful slapstick of Laurel and Hardy with the mock-Gothic visuals of “The Adams Family,” this often screamingly funny comedy about a resilient rodent has enough across-the-board appeal to clickMouseHunt” is the cat’s meow. Blending the graceful slapstick of Laurel and Hardy with the mock-Gothic visuals of “The Adams Family,” this often screamingly funny comedy about a resilient rodent has enough across-the-board appeal to click with audiences of all ages. Even though it faces stiff B.O. competition in the current holiday season demolition derby, pic could eke out enough coin to qualify for sleeper status. Down the road, ancillary prospects are even rosier.

Nathan Lane and Lee Evans (“Funny Bones”) are ingeniously teamed as Ernie and Lars, estranged brothers reunited by the death of their aged father, string manufacturer Rudolph Smuntz (the late William Hickey). Ernie, the cynical owner-operator of a pretentiously trendy eatery, wants to sell the old man’s factory, a cavernous antique that appears to be a holdover from the earliest days of the Industrial Revolution. But the far more sentimental Lars wants to preserve the family business, and swears fealty to his father’s motto: “A world without string is chaos.”

Unfortunately, Ernie loses his restaurant — and gains a great deal of notoriety — when his most famous customer, the city mayor, dies of a heart attack during a lavish meal. Just as unfortunately, Lars is booted out of his house by his shrewish wife (Vicki Lewis), who can’t understand why her husband won’t accept a firm offer for the string factory.

So the two brothers must take advantage of another inheritance from their late father, a dilapidated mansion that’s been vacant for several years. Shortly after they move in, they discover the place is an architectural masterpiece that may be worth millions. Trouble is, an incredibly crafty mouse has made the mansion his home. And he won’t leave without a fight.

First-time feature helmer Gore Verbinski — a commercial director best known for introducing the “Budweiser frogs” — does a nifty job of quickly establishing and skillfully sustaining a kind of fractured fairy-tale stylization. “Mouse Hunt” begins on a darkly humorous note, as the two bickering brothers inadvertently disrupt their father’s funeral.

It takes awhile for Adam Rifkin’s clever screenplay to place Ernie and Lars in the mansion, and in conflict with the mouse. But once the brothers start to match wits with the rodent, pic becomes an amusingly twisted live-action cartoon , with Lane and Evans playing increasingly frustrated Wile E. Coyotes to the mouse’s indefatigably resourceful Roadrunner. Throughout most of “Mouse Hunt,” the four-legged title character is impressively portrayed by a real mouse — well, OK, several real mice — under the supervision of animal trainer Boone Narr. Children will be especially delighted by scenes in which the mouse scurries and jumps across floors and onto shelves.

Even so, Stan Winston’s Animatronic mice are even funnier, particularly when the action is viewed from the rodent’s point of view. When Lars hammers strips of wood across baseboards, the mouse sees nails the size of redwoods crashing through the wall. Later, when the brothers try to flood him out with a garden hose, the plucky rodent looks very much like a panicky bit player trapped below deck in “Titanic.”

But the most special effect in “Mouse Hunt” is the well-timed give-and-take between the top-billed human stars. Lane mixes sharp-tongued sarcasm and self-satisfied fussiness to create a character who echoes Oliver Hardy and, occasionally, Groucho Marx. (A mischievous in-joke: Lane, who provided a key voice for Disney’s “The Lion King,” quotes that animated blockbuster while greeting a guest.) Evans has some hilarious moments of herky-jerky physicality when the generally sweet-natured Lars is repeatedly outwitted and enraged by his four-legged adversary. Together, the two leads bring out the best, and the funniest, in each other, suggesting that future screen pairings may be in order.

Among the supporting players, Christopher Walken is a standout with his self-mocking portrayal of an obsessed exterminator whose professionalism borders on dementia. Debra Christofferson and Camilla Soeberg are amusing as two zaftig sisters who don’t mind being pawed by the mouse-hunting brothers. Other first-rate comic turns come from Maury Chaykin as a multimillionaire who wants to buy the mansion, Lewis as the wife who wants to sell it and Eric Christmas as the lawyer who can’t quite figure out what’s going on.

Production design by Linda DeScenna is an invaluable asset. In addition to creating the dilapidated mansion, she also designed a spectacularly grim city pound for the brothers to visit when they go looking for a mean, mouse-hunting cat. Composer Alan Silvestri provides a playful, mood-enhancing score. Other tech credits add to the fun.
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8
FilmClubMar 27, 2016
Mouse Hunt” is the cat’s meow. Blending the graceful slapstick of Laurel and Hardy with the mock-Gothic visuals of “The Adams Family,” this often screamingly funny comedy about a resilient rodent has enough across-the-board appeal to clickMouse Hunt” is the cat’s meow. Blending the graceful slapstick of Laurel and Hardy with the mock-Gothic visuals of “The Adams Family,” this often screamingly funny comedy about a resilient rodent has enough across-the-board appeal to click with audiences of all ages. Even though it faces stiff B.O. competition in the current holiday season demolition derby, pic could eke out enough coin to qualify for sleeper status. Down the road, ancillary prospects are even rosier.

Nathan Lane and Lee Evans (“Funny Bones”) are ingeniously teamed as Ernie and Lars, estranged brothers reunited by the death of their aged father, string manufacturer Rudolph Smuntz (the late William Hickey). Ernie, the cynical owner-operator of a pretentiously trendy eatery, wants to sell the old man’s factory, a cavernous antique that appears to be a holdover from the earliest days of the Industrial Revolution. But the far more sentimental Lars wants to preserve the family business, and swears fealty to his father’s motto: “A world without string is chaos.”

Unfortunately, Ernie loses his restaurant — and gains a great deal of notoriety — when his most famous customer, the city mayor, dies of a heart attack during a lavish meal. Just as unfortunately, Lars is booted out of his house by his shrewish wife (Vicki Lewis), who can’t understand why her husband won’t accept a firm offer for the string factory.

So the two brothers must take advantage of another inheritance from their late father, a dilapidated mansion that’s been vacant for several years. Shortly after they move in, they discover the place is an architectural masterpiece that may be worth millions. Trouble is, an incredibly crafty mouse has made the mansion his home. And he won’t leave without a fight.

First-time feature helmer Gore Verbinski — a commercial director best known for introducing the “Budweiser frogs” — does a nifty job of quickly establishing and skillfully sustaining a kind of fractured fairy-tale stylization. “Mouse Hunt” begins on a darkly humorous note, as the two bickering brothers inadvertently disrupt their father’s funeral.

It takes awhile for Adam Rifkin’s clever screenplay to place Ernie and Lars in the mansion, and in conflict with the mouse. But once the brothers start to match wits with the rodent, pic becomes an amusingly twisted live-action cartoon , with Lane and Evans playing increasingly frustrated Wile E. Coyotes to the mouse’s indefatigably resourceful Roadrunner. Throughout most of “Mouse Hunt,” the four-legged title character is impressively portrayed by a real mouse — well, OK, several real mice — under the supervision of animal trainer Boone Narr. Children will be especially delighted by scenes in which the mouse scurries and jumps across floors and onto shelves.

Even so, Stan Winston’s Animatronic mice are even funnier, particularly when the action is viewed from the rodent’s point of view. When Lars hammers strips of wood across baseboards, the mouse sees nails the size of redwoods crashing through the wall. Later, when the brothers try to flood him out with a garden hose, the plucky rodent looks very much like a panicky bit player trapped below deck in “Titanic.”

But the most special effect in “Mouse Hunt” is the well-timed give-and-take between the top-billed human stars. Lane mixes sharp-tongued sarcasm and self-satisfied fussiness to create a character who echoes Oliver Hardy and, occasionally, Groucho Marx. (A mischievous in-joke: Lane, who provided a key voice for Disney’s “The Lion King,” quotes that animated blockbuster while greeting a guest.) Evans has some hilarious moments of herky-jerky physicality when the generally sweet-natured Lars is repeatedly outwitted and enraged by his four-legged adversary. Together, the two leads bring out the best, and the funniest, in each other, suggesting that future screen pairings may be in order.

Among the supporting players, Christopher Walken is a standout with his self-mocking portrayal of an obsessed exterminator whose professionalism borders on dementia. Debra Christofferson and Camilla Soeberg are amusing as two zaftig sisters who don’t mind being pawed by the mouse-hunting brothers. Other first-rate comic turns come from Maury Chaykin as a multimillionaire who wants to buy the mansion, Lewis as the wife who wants to sell it and Eric Christmas as the lawyer who can’t quite figure out what’s going on.

An aptly frail Hickey appears only in a hospital-room flashback. But his character manages to dominate the proceedings, thanks to a portrait that periodically changes expression to punctuate the action. The well-known character actor died shortly after completing work on “Mouse Hunt,” and the pic is dedicated to his memory.

Composer Alan Silvestri provides a playful, mood-enhancing score. Other tech credits add to the fun.
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8
MovieManiac1994Jan 4, 2016
Once you've seen the pre-credits sequence, which tips open a coffin and catapults the very dead contents into an open sewer, you're left in no doubt that Mouse Hunt is an exercise in organised chaos. It's a textbook Home Alone-style caper,Once you've seen the pre-credits sequence, which tips open a coffin and catapults the very dead contents into an open sewer, you're left in no doubt that Mouse Hunt is an exercise in organised chaos. It's a textbook Home Alone-style caper, the difference being that there is no `cute kid' to put up with. Instead, the domestic terrorism is left to an equally smart, but infinitely less nauseous, mouse who wreaks havoc and physical injury upon the unsuspecting human buffoons.

Said buffoons are played by The Birdcage's Nathan Lane and British clown Lee Evans. They are the hapless sons of `String King' Rudolf Smuntz, who leaves his progeny a Victorian-style string factory and the rodent-infested mansion. Lane, as the smooth-talking elder brother, apes Oliver Hardy pretty effectively, while Evans resists the urge to turn Lars Smuntz into a cut-price Norman Wisdom. The gurning physical comedian is relatively restrained for his big-budget debut; whether this is a blessing or a disappointment depends on your view of his trademark mugging.

Christopher Walken joins the idiot brothers, sending himself up deliciously as a psychotic, **** pest controller named Caesar. His come-uppance is the first of many brilliantly orchestrated set-pieces sprinkled throughout Mouse Hunt. Just as impressive is the film's production design: it's as though the luckless Smuntz brothers have been dumped squarely in the RKO backlot during the golden age of silent comedy.

But ultimately the real star of Mouse Hunt is the critter. In their own miniature fashion, the rodent-related effects are as impressive as Cameron's vertical Titanic. Using a combination of animatronics, CGI and a troop of trained `stunt' mice, the film-makers have created a wholly believable furry hero, who never once trades his essential miceness for niceness. By the end, you'll believe a mouse can drive a pick-up truck.

Directed by Gore Verbinski (he's the man who got animated frogs to say "Bud-weis-er"), Mouse Hunt isn't remotely cheesy. It may be virtually plotless, but that doesn't matter - - no-one ever accused Laurel and Hardy of sacrificing story for slapstick. Go and see it now before they ruin everything with the sequel, Mousehunt 2: Rats In New York.

Mouse Hunt is that rare thing: a family film that doesn't make you want to throw up. Smart, sharp and funny, and with fantastic visual effects, it's everything the Home Alone sequels should have been. Possibly the best film about mice ever made.
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8
CinemaSinsMay 8, 2015
Once you've seen the pre-credits sequence, which tips open a coffin and catapults the very dead contents into an open sewer, you're left in no doubt that Mouse Hunt is an exercise in organised chaos. It's a textbook Home Alone-style caper,Once you've seen the pre-credits sequence, which tips open a coffin and catapults the very dead contents into an open sewer, you're left in no doubt that Mouse Hunt is an exercise in organised chaos. It's a textbook Home Alone-style caper, the difference being that there is no `cute kid' to put up with. Instead, the domestic terrorism is left to an equally smart, but infinitely less nauseous, mouse who wreaks havoc and physical injury upon the unsuspecting human buffoons.

Said buffoons are played by The Birdcage's Nathan Lane and British clown Lee Evans. They are the hapless sons of `String King' Rudolf Smuntz, who leaves his progeny a Victorian-style string factory and the rodent-infested mansion. Lane, as the smooth-talking elder brother, apes Oliver Hardy pretty effectively, while Evans resists the urge to turn Lars Smuntz into a cut-price Norman Wisdom. The gurning physical comedian is relatively restrained for his big-budget debut; whether this is a blessing or a disappointment depends on your view of his trademark mugging.

Christopher Walken joins the idiot brothers, sending himself up deliciously as a psychotic, **** pest controller named Caesar. His come-uppance is the first of many brilliantly orchestrated set-pieces sprinkled throughout Mouse Hunt. Just as impressive is the film's production design: it's as though the luckless Smuntz brothers have been dumped squarely in the RKO backlot during the golden age of silent comedy.

But ultimately the real star of Mouse Hunt is the critter. In their own miniature fashion, the rodent-related effects are as impressive as Cameron's vertical Titanic. Using a combination of animatronics, CGI and a troop of trained `stunt' mice, the film-makers have created a wholly believable furry hero, who never once trades his essential miceness for niceness. By the end, you'll believe a mouse can drive a pick-up truck.

Directed by Gore Verbinski (he's the man who got animated frogs to say "Bud-weis-er"), Mouse Hunt isn't remotely cheesy. It may be virtually plotless, but that doesn't matter - - no-one ever accused Laurel and Hardy of sacrificing story for slapstick. Go and see it now before they ruin everything with the sequel, Mousehunt 2: Rats In New York.

Mouse Hunt is that rare thing: a family film that doesn't make you want to throw up. Smart, sharp and funny, and with fantastic visual effects, it's everything the Home Alone sequels should have been. Possibly the best film about mice ever made.
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8
MovieManiac83Apr 23, 2015
The first big family film from Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg's DreamWorks studio stars Nathan Lane and British comedian Lee Evans as estranged brothers who are reunited when their father dies, leaving them a run-downThe first big family film from Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg's DreamWorks studio stars Nathan Lane and British comedian Lee Evans as estranged brothers who are reunited when their father dies, leaving them a run-down house as part of their inheritance. The pair soon learns that the house is a lost architectural masterpiece, but their attempts to auction it off are thwarted by a pesky, brilliant, territorial mouse. On paper, it sounds like a dreadfully contrived bit of high-concept crap: Home Alone with a mouse. And while there is a limit to how good a film about a feisty mouse can be, Mouse Hunt is far better than you'd expect. Despite its intelligence-insulting premise, Mouse Hunt is a well-crafted, surprisingly smart film that benefits tremendously from the winning chemistry between Lane and talented newcomer Evans, as well as beautifully Gothic set designs and a periodically clever, inventive script by would-be cult filmmaker Adam Rifkin (The Invisible Maniac, The Nutt House a.k.a. The Nutty Nutt). It's hardly a masterpiece, of course, and much of the slapstick quickly grows tiresome, but at its best, Mouse Hunt's baroque, Dickensian universe recalls Nicholas Roeg's terrific, underrated, and similarly mouse-centric Roald Dahl adaptation The Witches. And for a movie in the notoriously sadistic kiddie-slapstick genre, it's surprisingly humanistic, refusing to villainize either the brothers or the spunky little mouse. Expand
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9
Robinson2511Feb 12, 2015
Having grown up through my childhood watching Mousehunt over and over again on VCR, it's hardly surprising that I am the person I am today. Mousehunt can be described quite simply as a comical, daft, over-the-top, ahead of it's time comedy,Having grown up through my childhood watching Mousehunt over and over again on VCR, it's hardly surprising that I am the person I am today. Mousehunt can be described quite simply as a comical, daft, over-the-top, ahead of it's time comedy, which 90% of the time, works excellently, the other 10%, contains some roll your eyes moments, but let's focus on the good stuff.
The performances are absolutly top-notch, quite possibly the best comedy duo I've ever seen, and the main characters shine with charisma, the supporting characters are some of the most larger than life people ever to hit the cinema screen, it's quite incredible. The slapstick story and the way it moves itself along as a whole is very reminiscent of how a comedy movie would be today, fast paced, never stopping, small emotional moments but mostly just fun packed action sequences, which are the absolute highlight here, they're just brilliant. When you look at this film from an aesthetic standpoint, it's hard to believe that it's 18 years old now, it feels like a film that I could've just seen last week at the cinema, everything works beautifully, with the exception of that 10% of rather irritating moments but apart from that, this movie is pure gold.
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7
skyminsterAug 1, 2013
Mouse Hunt is very silly, and quite funny, at the same time completely unrealistic (and kinda stupid). The highlight of this film is definetely its comedic moments and things that happen, the actual dialogue isn't very funny, but then again,Mouse Hunt is very silly, and quite funny, at the same time completely unrealistic (and kinda stupid). The highlight of this film is definetely its comedic moments and things that happen, the actual dialogue isn't very funny, but then again, I don't think it's supposed to be. The character building is surprisingly great in this film, as they change throughout the film, you start to feel for them, well, not really, more like you start to laugh at them, because they're so stupid and are rubbish at trying to catch the mouse. However, the comedy and character building are the only great things about it, the story's pretty good and kinda moving, the actings good, and everything else about this film is nothing better or worse than mediocre. Mouse Hunt is a typically comedicly silly and charmingly simple family film, and does a good job at what it aims to do entertain it's audience. So I give this film a... 73/100! Expand
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7
MichaelDAug 15, 2011
Very funny. Lee Evans does fantastic in this movie. Even adults would be entertained as it has humour stored up for them. Definitely worth a watch.
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