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Mouse Hunt

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Mouse Hunt

Starring: Nathan Lane, Lee Evans
Director: Gore Verbinski
Rated: PG
RunTime: 97 Minutes
Release Date: December 1997
Genres: Comedy, Family, Kids

*Also starring: Vicki Lewis, Eric Christmas, Michael Jeter, Debra Christofferson, Camilla Soeberg, William Hickey, Christopher Walken

Review by MrBrown
2½ stars out of 4

With its three inaugural releases, megabucks studio DreamWorks SKG has just about covered all the bases: middle-of-the-road action (THE PEACEMAKER); highminded "Oscar bait" (AMISTAD), and now lowbrow comedy with MOUSE HUNT, a slapstick comedy that will please the tykes but will leave the rest of the family less than satisfied.

The basic plot setup (a pair of down-on-their-luck brothers inherit a rundown--and, as it turns out, valuable--house from their string manufacturer father) is rendered irrelevant once the "star" of the movie enters the picture: a tiny little mouse (a charmer by the name of "Jenny the Mouse"), who immediately ruins the house renovation plans of the two siblings, Ernie (Nathan Lane) and Lars (Lee Evans) Smuntz. What ensues is one long, frenzied pursuit in which the two bumbling brothers make attempt after attempt to find and kill the mouse, who outsmarts them every time.

MOUSE HUNT is little more than HOME ALONE with a mouse in the lead, which should give you a clear idea about the bulk of the comedy in this film: broad physical schtick. Granted, this type of humor goes a long way with the film's target audience--children--and a handful of the gags did make me smile, but after a while I (and, I suspect, most adults in the audience) grew tired of the pratfalls. After all, a man getting hit in the head by a blunt object can only be so "hilarious" after the first two or three times it is done.

What keeps the incessant slapstick from becoming completely monotonous are the engaging performances. Even though they are set up as the villains of the piece, Lane and Evans, who develop a nice brotherly rapport, remain likable and sympathetic; at certain points I found myself simultaneously rooting for them _and_ the mouse. And it is through the acting that the film is able to maintain a slightly twisted edge. Lane delivers his acid one-liners with malicious glee, and an effectively creepy Christopher Walken comes close to walking away with the movie as overzealous and slightly psycho exterminator Caesar.

MOUSE HUNT, like its destructive but well-meaning protagonist, is harmless, a fairly safe bet to keep the little ones entertained for 97 minutes. But anyone looking for a film that truly is fun for the whole family is better off checking out the opulent ANASTASIA or, better yet, Disney's modern classic THE LITTLE MERMAID, which is enjoying yet another rerelease this week.

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