Mouse Hunt (1997)

Though closer to consistently amusing than non-stop, fall-down 
funny, the first family film from Dreamworks is a slight delight.  
Nathan Lane and British comic Lee Evans play a pair of bickering, 
bumbling brothers, trying to rid a prized old mansion of a mouse.  
A very *smart* mouse.  Slapstick ensues (vacuum versus sewage line, 
lit match versus natural gas, etc.), but not nearly as much as the 
ads suggest.  (Nor as hilarious as expected, either.  Have such 
shenanigans become too commonplace, after three HOME ALONE movies?)  
Significant screen time is also devoted to the rodent's POV, in 
several smart sequences set inside the walls of this old house.  
Younger kids may grow restless during the film's talkier bits, such 
as the brothers' ongoing efforts to sell the ancient (but fully 
functioning) string factory that they also inherited from their 
recently deceased father (William Hickey, looking delightfully de-
crepit in his final screen role).  That said, whatever the wee ones 
miss in dialogue, the exceptional visuals should still keep them 
spellbound.  (My favorite, next to the sight of Lane's exaggerated 
eyebrows, is the one-two punch of Phedon Papamichael's dark photo-
graphy and Linda DeScenna's goofy-Gothic production design.  We're 
talkin' Tim Burton territory, here.)  And, parents, be forewarned 
about the City Pound scenes, where Laurel and Hardy look to snatch 
"one mean pussy."  After the kids see *those* conditions, you'll 
never be able to get rid of another pet again.  Get me my Gouda.  
(Rated "PG"/97 min.)

Grade: B-

Copyright 1997 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: December 18, 1997

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