Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Gore Verbinski|
|Produced by||Bruce Cohen
|Written by||Adam Rifkin|
|Music by||Alan Silvestri|
|Editing by||Craig Wood|
|Distributed by||DreamWorks Pictures|
|Release dates||December 19, 1997|
|Running time||98 minutes|
MouseHunt is a 1997 American comedy film directed by Gore Verbinski, written by Adam Rifkin and starring Nathan Lane and Lee Evans. It was the first family film to be released by DreamWorks. The film was shot just prior to William Hickey's death.
In the story, two Laurel-and-Hardy-like brothers struggle against one small house mouse for possession of a house that was willed to them by their father. The intelligent and crafty mouse outwits them completely. The film is set in a humorously indeterminate 20th century time period, with styles ranging from the 1940s to the 1970s.
When once-wealthy string magnate Rudolf Smuntz (William Hickey) dies, he leaves his outdated string factory and a run-down mansion to his two sons, Lars (Lee Evans) and Ernie (Nathan Lane). When Lars declines an offer by representatives from a large conglomerate to buy their string factory, his greedy wife April (Vicki Lewis) promptly throws him out. Meanwhile, Ernie serves Mayor McKrinkle (Cliff Emmich) at his restaurant, only for the mayor to accidentally consume a cockroach and die from a resulting heart attack. As a result, Ernie loses both his house and his job.
Ernie reconciles with Lars, and they decide to inhabit the mansion together. Finding blueprints of the mansion, they discover that it is a lost masterpiece designed by famous architect Charles Lyle LaRue. Alexander Falko (Maury Chaykin), A wealthy LaRue collector makes an offer, but Ernie declines under the belief they can make a larger profit by restoration and auction, only to learn they have two days to pay off the mortgage before the bank forecloses on it. The brothers have already realized that the house has an occupant: a highly intelligent mouse. Ernie, fearing a repeat cockroach incident, then decides they should get rid of the rodent. Despite attempting a wide array of methods, including numerous mousetraps, purchasing a monstrous cat, and hiring an eccentric exterminator named Mr. Caesar (Christopher Walken), they fail.
April, now aware of Lars' possible auction profits, reconciles with an oblivious Lars. Ernie, discovering documents about the offer for his late-father's factory, attempts a rendezvous with the Zeppco representatives. However, distracted by two attractive women while he is waiting, he is struck by a bus and rushed to a hospital, missing his appointment.
The brothers return home and again attempt to kill the mouse. When Lars lights a match, a gas leak causes a terrible explosion and blasts Ernie out of the chimney and into a lake. In rage, Ernie grabs the gun and fires it at the mouse; accidentally shooting a compressed can of pesticide left by Mr. Caesar, he inadvertently causes enormous damage to the property. Zeppco leaves an answering machine message, declining Ernie's offer to buy the company, and the brothers argue about their dishonesty. Lars, throwing an orange at Ernie, accidentally hits the mouse instead, knocking it unconscious. Unable to finish it off, they instead seal the mouse in a box and mail it to Fidel Castro in Cuba. The brothers then reconcile again and renovate the house after April agrees to pay off the mortgage.
During the auction, which is attended by international multi-millionaires, Lars discovers that the mouse’s box has been returned because of insufficient postage, and a hole has been chewed through the corner. Lars and Ernie panic. They desperately attempt to flush out the mouse by feeding a hosepipe into the wall. The house rapidly floods through the walls and finally the floors as the auctioneer reaches a $25 million bid. All the people are washed out of the house, which stays intact for another minute or two before collapsing completely. Watching as April and all the bidders leave in disgust, the brothers' only consolation is the fact that the mouse must finally be dead.
The brothers return to the factory, and sleep there. They have been followed by the mouse, who restarts the machinery and manages to make a ball of string cheese. In the final scene, Ernie and Lars are working with the mouse, having successfully rebuild the factory as a novelty string cheese company, pleasing their father's spirit.
- Nathan Lane as Ernie Smuntz
- Lee Evans as Lars Smuntz
- Vicki Lewis as April Smuntz
- Maury Chaykin as Alexander Falko
- Eric Christmas as Ernie and Lars' lawyer
- Michael Jeter as Quincy Thorpe
- Debra Christofferson as Ingrid, the brunette hair model
- Camilla Søeberg as Hilde, the blonde hair model
- Ian Abercrombie as auctioneer
- Annabelle Gurwitch as Roxanne Atkins
- Eric Poppick as Theodore Plumb, the banker
- Ernie Sabella as Maury, the Cat Care Society Owner
- William Hickey as Rudolf Smuntz (this was Hickey's last film before his death).
- Christopher Walken as Caesar, the exterminator
- Cliff Emmich as Mayor McKrinkle
- Frank Welker as Mouse, Catzilla
MouseHunt received mixed reviews from film critics. Rotten Tomatoes reports that 43% of 30 critics had given the film a positive review. The film was a financial success. It was released on December 19, 1997 and opened up in North America at #4 and grossed $6,062,922 in the opening weekend. It wrapped up its run on July 1, 1998 or 27.9 weeks with $61,917,389 in the North American market and $60,500,000 in other territories for a worldwide total of $122,417,389. Its budget was $38 million.
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (January 2011)|