Gore Verbinski, the TV-commercials director responsible for the Budweiser frogs, directed this Adam Rifkin screenplay about two brothers (Nathan Lane and Lee Evans) who inherit a string factory and a decaying country home after the death of their father (the late William Hickey, in his last role). After moving in, they learn that the house has historical architectural importance and is valued in the millions. However, they are constantly tormented by a mouse within the walls. They engage in cartoon-like combat against the rodent, but it manages to outwit the brothers in successive situations. Both live and animatronic mice portray the title role, and some scenes assume the mouse's point of view. The film is dedicated to William Hickey.
They've tried Catzilla, a feline so ferocious it can't be euthanized. They've tried booby traps that Rube Goldberg would marvel at. They've even tried Caesar (hilariously played by Christopher Walken), a demented exterminator whose "Squeak Seeker 2000" mouse-cam will infiltrate even the cleverest rodent's secret lair. But the Smuntz brothers Ernie (Nathan Lane) and Lars (British comedian Lee Evans) just can't win against the tenacious mouse that wreaks havoc in the vintage home they've inherited from their father. That's the one-note premise of this chaotic, lavishly produced comedy that starts on a high note and never lets up, eventually leaving the viewer exhausted. The special mouse effects (live-action, animatronic, and computer-generated) are delightful, and the slapstick is frequently ingenious, but the title says it all in a movie that is little more than an elaborate variation of Home Alone
. A prime choice for family fun, but it's really just a live-action cartoon that overstays its welcome. It's harmless fun if all you're looking for is a marathon of slapstick gags and pratfalls, and it's notable as the final film appearance of veteran character actor William Hickey, who died in June of 1997, shortly after filming of Mouse Hunt
was completed. --Jeff Shannon