111 user 72 critic

Mousehunt (1997)

PG | | Comedy | 19 December 1997 (USA)
0:26 | Trailer
Two stumblebum inheritors are determined to rid their antique house of a mouse who is equally determined to stay where he is.


Gore Verbinski


Adam Rifkin
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Nathan Lane ... Ernie Smuntz
Lee Evans ... Lars Smuntz
Vicki Lewis ... April Smuntz
Maury Chaykin ... Alexander Falko
Eric Christmas ... Ernie and Lars' Lawyer
Michael Jeter ... Quincy Thorpe
Debra Christofferson ... Ingrid
Camilla Søeberg ... Hilde, the Bench Lady (as Camilla Soeberg)
Ian Abercrombie ... Auctioneer
Annabelle Gurwitch ... Roxanne Atkins
Eric Poppick ... The Banker
Ernie Sabella ... Maury, the Cat Care Society Owner
William Hickey ... Rudolph Smuntz
Christopher Walken ... Caeser, the Exterminator
Cliff Emmich ... Mayor McKrinle
Learn more

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A family film about a mouse that lives in an old house where the geriatric owner dies, and Ernie and Lars Smuntz have plans for, but they have trouble getting rid of the mouse. It's like Home Alone with a mouse. Written by ShowBob <showbob@geocities.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The funniest movie of the year! See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language, comic sensuality and mayhem | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The mousetraps scene was done without any digital effect whatsoever. Over 800 mousetraps were set individually and then rigged with wires under the floor. It took several takes, so each trap had to be reset, baited and wired one at a time. See more »


When Ernie and Lars inherit a mansion they hear that the last owner of the place was locked in a trunk up in the attic. They both come back to the house and one of the police officers said that Caesar was found locked in a trunk. A human is many times bigger than a mouse, so there is no way that a mouse that clever (with an elaborate obstacle course) could have carried him. See more »


[first lines]
Lars: [at their father's funeral, they carry his coffin down the steps of a cathedral] Hold your end up higher, you're not holding it.
Ernie: I am too.
Lars: You are not.
Ernie: Don't worry about me. Hey, isn't that suit charcoal?
Lars: No.
Ernie: Looks charcoal gray to me, some gray polyester blend. Couldn't even find a black suit for your own father's funeral.
Lars: It's black.
Ernie: No, I'm sure it's gray.
Lars: It's black.
See more »

Alternate Versions

DVD version contains six deleted scenes:
  • Lars Smuntz explores his late fathers office in his very own style;
  • Caesar presents his 'weapons' and tools;
  • Caesar goes Mouse hunting with a heat seeker;
  • Caesar is doing his new job in the Quality Control department of Smuntz String Cheese factory;
  • A collection of various small scenes from the auction, showing Falco getting back his cheque from Ernie after the flood and ripping it in pieces;
  • The ensemble of Smuntz String Cheese factory gathers for a photo shooting.
See more »


I'll Be Home For Christmas
Written by Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, and Buck Ram
Arranged by Bruce L. Fowler
Performed by the Los Angeles Children's Chorus Ensemble
Daryl Getman, Gavin Hale, Julia Long, Adrienne Pardee, Mark Perry, Amy Sargious, Jonathan Saul, Chai-Fu Wang, and Julia Wells
Anne Tomlinson, Artistic Director
See more »

User Reviews

Strangely dark and wickedly stylish, "Mousehunt" is an oft-hilarious slapstick comedy for both kids and adults. Though it may be too extreme for younger children.
12 October 2017 | by MaximumMadnessSee all my reviews

Released twenty years back in 1997, director Gore Verbinski's "Mousehunt" has always been something of an odd beast in the world of entertainment. Seemingly inspired by classic comedy duos like Laurel and Hardy, while also updating the style with spiffy modern-day effects and filmmaking techniques, the movie was shaping up to be a surefire hit. And to an extent, it was. It did well enough in theaters and built a moderate audience, but it was savaged by critics and has become an increasingly forgotten film in the ensuing years since its release... overshadowed by bigger and wilder films that emerged in its wake.

And honestly, that's kind of a shame. Because despite some minor flaws and an overly simplistic high-concept hook, "Mousehunt" remains a pretty charming and well-accomplished comedic tale that appeals to both kids and adults alike with its broad humor and oddly dark tone. Starring the delightful comedic geniuses Nathan Lane and Lee Evans, the story of two down-on-their-luck brothers trying to deal with a rodent infestation in the mansion they've inherited is an appealing and well-made release. It still brings the chuckles and belly-laughs two decades later... though in retrospect, it might be a little too extreme for particularly young children.

Following the death of their businessman father Rudolf (William Hickey), brothers Ernie (Nathan Lane) and Lars (Lee Evans) are both forced to stay at the run-down old mansion that was left to them. Soon after, they discover documents inside and realize that it was one of the final houses designed and built by the world famous architect Charles LaRue, and that it could be worth millions with proper restoration. However... there's a catch. A single mouse inhabits the house, and the brother decide that they must eliminate it at all costs in their effort to turn a quick buck from the property. But it won't be an easy task, as the two quickly realize that this isn't just any mouse...

The film's strength lies in the charming lead performances and the absolutely manic and highly cartoonish comedy, brought to life with Verbinski's trademark dark and stylish visual direction. Lane and Evans light up the screen, and their chemistry is just perfect, with both men given their fair shot to shine from scene to scene. They really do compare well with the classic comedy duos of yesteryear, and its too bad we thus far haven't really seen them together on screen since. Supporting roles by the likes of Hickey, Vicki Lewis and Camilla Søeberg are also quite good, and everyone really gets into the right mood and mindset of the film. And of course, special praise goes to the legendary Christopher Walken in a scene-stealing supporting role. I won't spoil it, but you can tell Walken is having an absolute blast with the film.

The comedy of the film is absolutely awe-inspiring, comprised of both broad and completely whacked-out slapstick for the kids and some truly twisted and subtle dark laughs for the adults. There really is something for everyone with the humor in "Mousehunt", and its made all the better thanks to director Verbinski's keen eye. I've always been a big fan of his work, and his style lends itself well to the material. His films always have a very gritty, Gothic and over-stylized "hyper-reality" to them, and he is able to deliver the laughs and even the occasional gasp with glee and gusto.

However, there is a certain trade-off that comes as the result of this, and I do feel the need to warn parents... this movie might be too much for particularly young children. While I won't spoil anything about the plot or story, I will comment that many of the darker gags and jokes deal with content that might scare children under ten or at very least leave them feeling uneasy. This includes jokes involving death and property destruction, a hilarious but genuinely disturbing background gag involving a young girl's pet being put to sleep and some overt innuendos and suggestive sight- gags. If you're not sure, I'd say watch the movie first and decide for yourself. And I'm really only bringing this up because the case for the DVD is significantly more bright and "cutesy" than the film itself.

"Mousehunt" isn't a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination. The concept and characters are simplistic and it's sometimes a bit confused in terms of tone. But that doesn't stop it from being just a ton of fun and a completely enjoyable experience for both kids and adults. The cast is great, the titular mouse is adorable, the comedy is laugh-out-loud funny, and the stylish direction is just fantastic. And so, I give it a very good 8 out of 10 and would recommend it to most audiences. It's a criminally underrated comedic gem that deserves far more recognition than it receives.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

19 December 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mouse Trap See more »

Filming Locations:

Bass Lake, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$38,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,062,922, 21 December 1997

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

DreamWorks See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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