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Mouse Hunt Review

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Two down at heel inheritors are determined to rid their antique house of a mouse who is equally determined to stay where he is.

★★★★

Take Home Alone, put a small rodent in the place of Macaulay Culkin, add loads of gags and some excellent set pieces, and you've got a corking comedy from DreamWorks SKG, the home of Steven Spielberg. Yes, it is a mouse movie with nothing to do with Disney.

On the death of their father (William Hickey), brothers Ernie and Lars Smuntz (Lane and Evans) inherit his string factory and the deeds to a property neither brother realised the old man owned. Though dilapidated, it turns out the house is an architectural rarity worth millions, so they decide to do it up and sell it off to the highest bidder.

There is a problem, however - one little mouse with one big attitude. Lane as the greedy schemer and the timid, gangly Evans make a good slapstick team, with great support from a cast of larger-than-life characters including Walken as the exterminator who approaches his task with military precision and outrageous hardware. But the star is, naturally, the mouse, stealing the show not just with his bewhiskered cuteness, but with an unflinching resourcefulness as he foils the hapless brothers at every turn.

The stunts - by both man and mouse - are terrific, particularly a set piece in which the brothers fill an entire room with traps, only to see the mighty rodent get yet another one over them with his acrobatic antics. The "mousecam" POV dashes around the house are breathtaking, particularly one in which the furry one endeavours to escape the nails being hammered into the skirting board (death by impalement seems inevitable). Grown-ups should be warned, though, tiny bottom lips may quiver whenever it looks like the brave wee mouse has had his chips...

A tad overlong, and with an unnecessarily tidy ending, Mousehunt nevertheless has the wit and pace to keep adults laughing while the children are enthralled by the spectacular travails of the invincible mouse.

Splendidly stylised with a ghoulish mix of Terry Gilliam and film noir, this furiously-paced slapstick never quite delivers on its promise, despite its popularity at the box office. Lee Evans and Nathan Lane bombard the screen with a pale Laurel And Hardy tribute, while a characterless mouse runs riot over the ramshackle mansion that should pot them millions. Neat cameo from Christopher Walken aside, it's more clatter than cleverness.

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