[[quoteright:220:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Mouse_hunt_ver4_8676.jpg]]

->'''Ernie Smuntz''': We can't handle any more intrusions.\\
'''[[Creator/ChristopherWalken Caesar]]''': Sure. That's how you perceive it. But to that mouse, ''you'' are the intruder.

Imagine if you were to create a comedic movie that's a cross between ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'' and ''Film/HomeAlone'', have it star what looks like [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Mario and Luigi]] (or Creator/LaurelAndHardy) as the protagonists, set it in a RetroUniverse of the 30's/40's and today, and for good measure, give ChristopherWalken an extended cameo. The result would be this film.

Nathan Lane and Lee Evans are Ernie and Lars Smuntz, brothers with a recently deceased ruined father. In his will, he leaves them "the future of string" -- a SteamPunk string factory with NoOSHACompliance -- and a seemingly worthless Victorian mansion. Oh, and some spoons, a half box of cigars, and a ceramic egg. But then the duo discovers that the abandoned house could be worth millions if it were renovated. Unfortunately for them, the place is already inhabited by a single rodent and it ain't leaving. HilarityEnsues as the clever mouse thwarts the brothers' increasingly elaborate {{Zany Scheme}}s to kill it, all while they have to deal with improbable house payments and the string factory's revolting employees.

This was the 1997 directorial debut of Creator/GoreVerbinski, who later gave us the ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' films and ''{{Rango}}''. This was also one of the first movies released by a fledgling little company called Creator/DreamWorks and the one which established their rivalry with {{Disney}}. One wonders if they made the film center around a mouse just to be ironic.

Given its odd combination of {{Slapstick}} and BlackComedy in a RetroUniverse setting, the movie will probably become a CultClassic one of these days. Don't confuse it with the {{Facebook}} [[MouseHunt app]].

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!!This movie contains the following tropes:

* TheAce: The mouse
* AnAesop: Teamwork and sharing are good things. These are the last things Mr. Smuntz tells his sons.
* AllClothUnravels: Lars ends up {{naked|PeopleAreFunny}} when he tries to run the family string factory. For the practical effect to work, the clothing unraveling had to be knit, and knit upside down. See [[http://www.knittingtipsbyjudy.com/cel2.html here]] for pictures.
* AmplifiedAnimalAptitude: The mouse -- it's the whole premise of the movie. Lars initially lampshades this, which Ernie promptly mocks, though he later agrees.
--> "I don't think we're dealing with an ordinary mouse."
* AmusingInjuries: The whole movie is built on "What if 'TomAndJerry' was live-action? And everything actually ''hurt''?"
* {{Angrish}}: The brothers have a short conversation in angrish after the first time the mouse blows them up. Followed by a mix of both SanitySlippage and UnstoppableRage, a complete lack of gun safety, and the mouse blowing them up ''again.''
* AntiClimaxBoss: {{In-universe}}. After repeated and increasingly extreme attempts to get rid of the mouse fail, the brothers turn on each other leading Lars to throw an orange at Ernie, missing and knocking the mouse behind him unconscious.
--> "[[CouldHaveAvoidedThisPlot Just think of all the trouble we could have saved ourselves if we'd just thrown fruit at him in the first place!]]"
* ApocalypticLog: Caesar The Exterminator's log is found after the ambulance carts him away - [[NoodleIncident we don't see what happened]] [[TakeOurWordForIt but it sure sounds terrible]].
--> (A door creaks open.)
--> Caesar: "Hey! Hey, put that down! [[NoodleImplements What is that thing?]]"
--> (Smashing sounds.)
--> Caesar: "AAAGH!"
--> (Sound of elastic stretching then snapping back.)
--> Caesar: "That tickles..."
--> (Various slams, thumps and screams then silence...)
* ArcWords / BookEnds: "A world without string is chaos."
* AshFace: Ernie and Lars after the former accidentally shot Caesar's bug bomb and caused a massive explosion.
* {{Auction}}: The eventual fate of [[spoiler:the mansion, which was ultimately averted by its destruction just before it was sold]].
* AxCrazy:
** Catzilla is portrayed as being such a good mouse hunter because it's psychotic.
** The brothers ultimately become this after too many plans turn on them, destroying a fair chunk of the house they were trying to save.
* BadassAdorable: Catzilla and the mouse, but especially the mouse.
* BerserkButton: During an argument Ernie finally flips out when Lars says he can't cook. Ernie used to be a quite competent chef so his reaction is kinda justified.
* BlownAcrossTheRoom: When Lars lights a match after the mouse caused a gas leak he's blown by the explosion right into a china cabinet.
* ButtMonkey: Ernie, Lars and Caesar. Catzilla probably counts too.
* CatsAreMean: Catzilla is the pet of your nightmares. It's apparently unkillable (they tried gassing it at least once in the animal shelter), permanently kept in a sealed container because it's so vicious and is portrayed as a Franchise/{{Godzilla}}-like monster from the mouse's perspective. In fact, when Catzilla breaks out of its container, it ''roars'' like Godzilla.
** Making it all the more impressive when the mouse proceeds to BreakTheBadass.
* ChekhovsGun: [[spoiler:The flea bomb.]]
* TheChewToy: The brothers, Caesar, and Catzilla.
* ChristmasCarolers: While Ernie and Lars wander the streets at night, both of them with nowhere to go, cynical Ernie belittles Lars for not looking at the big picture, though Lars says it's Christmas, and instead of dwelling on what they don't have, they should be thankful for what they do have... all the while carolers are singing, "I'll Be Home for Christmas", until the brothers give them an AsideGlance, prompting them to leave.
* ConsolationBackfire: At the climax, the Smuntz's last attempts to drive the mouse away result in the house getting flooded and several walls being destroyed. And this happens in the middle of the auction to sell the house. All the would-be buyers start to leave...
-->'''Ernie Smuntz:''' Hey! Don't go! ''[waves an arm at the flooded house]'' A demonstration of how durable a [=LaRue=] really is! Now you know this house will last '''forever'''!\\
''[As if on cue, the house collapses.]''
* CreepyCockroach: In the beginning of the film, Ernie's restaurant gets shut down due to an incident where [[spoiler: the mayor dies of shock after eating a cockroach head]].
* DeadpanSnarker: Ernie.
* TheDutifulSon: Lars.
* EccentricExterminator: Caesar, played by Creator/ChristopherWalken of all people. He has an almost supernatural intuition to pests, and maintains an overly dramatic log report about his work. [[spoiler:Eventually he gets DrivenToMadness by the mouse he's trying to catch.]]
* EveryoneHasStandards: The brothers did not have the heart to kill the mouse while it's unconscious (and hate themselves because of it) so they had it deported. [[TheCatCameBack The mouse still found its way back]], but [[ThrowTheDogABone throws the two a bone]] after their plans literally blow up.
* EvilLaugh: A rare "good guy" example: Ernie does this every time he chases the mouse or when he thinks he has got him.
* FatAndSkinny: Ernie and Lars. While Ernie is not exacty fat he's quite larger than the thin Lars.
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** It's mentioned that the last owner of the house was found in a trunk in the attic. Caesar later ends up getting the same treatment by the mouse.
** "A single vermin can bring you down."
* TheFunInFuneral: Lars accidentally breaks the handle on his side of his father's coffin, causing Mr. Smuntz to fall out of it and into the sewers.
* FunnyAnsweringMachine: Ernie: "When ya hear the beep, start talkin'."
* GoldDigger: Lars' wife April. She leaves him after learning his late father left him nothing but a string factory in his will and that Lars didn't want to sell the place. But she returns and seduces him after learning about the house auction. [[spoiler:In the end though, she runs off with a wealthy Texan with at least 17 million dollars kicking around (which she learns from his bidding).]]
* GreyAndGrayMorality: Creator/RogerEbert's problem with the film. Essentially, the movie never really decides whose side we're supposed to be on. You can't fault the brothers, who are flat broke with sympathetic backstories, for wanting to get back on their feet. Nor can you blame the mouse for defending its home and its life. At the film's close however, it manages to subvert this by giving both sides a HappilyEverAfter. This trope is also true of the majority of the ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'' shorts which this movie borrows heavily from, so perhaps it was done on purpose.
* HandOrObjectUnderwear: The outcome of the above-mentioned string factory episode. Ironically, the balls of thread Lars uses to cover his crotch appear to actually ''be'' his clothes in their unraveled form. Heh, heh, [[{{Pun}} balls]].
* HeadsTailsEdge: An attempted resolution to a ThereIsOnlyOneBed dilemma.
* HeelFaceTurn: [[spoiler: After the house is completely destroyed, the mouse helps set the brothers off on a new future in making cheese string.]]
* HenpeckedHusband: Lars.
* HeroicBSOD: Caesar after his run in with the mouse.
--> '''Ernie:''' Caesar, what happened? Did you catch the mouse?
--> '''Cesar:''' [[NonSequiturThud What's that? Horse? Fiendish!!! I WON'T EAT IT!!]] -chatters like a mouse-
* HiddenDepths:
** There are hints throughout the film that not only is the mouse very old but also more than just a trickster. Notably, Ernie comments on its culinary expertise in properly toasting a sandwich (thinking Caesar had made it).
** Additionally, the fact the movie seemingly takes place in the 1940s allows for some interesting parody and social commentary on the period, if one pays close attention to the subtext.
* HumiliationConga: Pretty much the entire movie is this for Ernie and Lars.
* TheHunterBecomesTheHunted: ''Oh'' yes.
* IAteWhat: The mayor, before [[spoiler: dying of a heart attack]]. The answer? [[spoiler: A cockroach. Or rather, the front half of it.]]
* IronButtMonkey: Lars and Ernie survive getting blown up, rocketed into a frozen lake, and getting hit by a bus, among other things.
* ItAlwaysRainsAtFunerals
* ItCanThink: A rare non-malicious example (depending on your perspective) in the mouse's case. This goes into UpToEleven levels when Ernie accepts that they're not dealing with an ordinary mouse.
* JerkassHasAPoint: Ernie does not think highly of his father Rudolf or the family string business at all, and has no problem making this clear. It's understandable though considering that Rudolf supposedly didn't give a damn about Ernie's cooking and expected him to run the business with Lars after he passed away, even though Ernie had his own business to run. That, and the Smuntzes' string factory is outdated and barely makes any money [[spoiler:until the end of the film]].
* KarmicTrickster: When left to his own devices, the mouse doesn't really bother the brothers beyond stealing their food, and most of the mishaps in the film are the brothers' own faults. As they start trying harder, though, the mouse starts getting ''mean'' in retaliation. At one point it turns on the gas and hands one of the unwitting brothers a match.
* KillerRabbit: The mouse. The last owner of the house before Rudolf Smuntz was found dead locked in a trunk in the attic. Later, the ambulance picks up Caesar the exterminator halfway through the film. He was found the same way, except it's implied this time ''the mouse'' called 911. Not to mention the rest of the stuff it does to Caesar and the Smuntz brothers.
* LargeHam: Caesar the exterminator (being played by ChristopherWalken, this shouldn't be a surprise). The brothers also ham up every time they get excited chasing the mouse.
* MadeOfIron:
** The Smuntz brothers live through a heck load of torment from the mouse.
** Catzilla qualifies as well. Maury offhandedly mentions how Catzilla had ''already'' been gassed at one point.
* MisplacedAccent: The Belgian sisters, Ingrid and Hilde, who sound nothing like Dutch or Belgian.
* MissingTrailerScene: {{Lampshaded}} in the film's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvFeWRpeU1Y offbeat trailer]]:
-->"These are the cha-cha twins. They are ''not'' in ''Mouse Hunt''. Tell your friends."
* MouseHole
* MouseTrap: [[UpToEleven Hundreds of them.]]
* NailEm
* NeverRecycleABuilding: Justified as the mouse drove out everyone who tried to live in the house.
* NonFatalExplosions: Ernie and Lars are both blown up by the mouse ''twice'' (the first time, Ernie is ''blasted from a chimney and into a nearby lake'') but luckily, they only have some soot on their faces and shredded clothes to worry about.
* NonSequiturThud: This happens to Caesar after the mouse made a fool of him, sending him careening through the house and effectively [[DrivenToMadness driving him to madness]]. He is then being taken out on a hospital stretcher when the brothers return to check up on things.
-->'''Ernie:''' Caesar, what happened? Did you catch the mouse?\\
'''Caesar:''' What's that? Horse!? FIENDISH!!! I WON'T EAT IT!! AAAGH! ''(makes chattering noises like a mouse)''
* OddCouple: Ernie is tight-fisted and practical while Lars is dumber and more idealistic.
* OhCrap: Caesar, as he realizes he's about to go on a painful journey through the house. Also, the brothers, when the mouse is about to spring all the mousetraps.
* OverlyLongGag: The entire scene with the mouse crawling across the kitchen to use a cherry to spring the mousetraps.
* PoundsAreAnimalPrisons: You ''wish'' it were a prison. A little girl is seen being dragged screaming from the pound, where her kitten is then immediately gassed to death (*possibly* for absolutely no reason). Note that this isn't treated as BlackComedy or anything. It comes across more like a "[[PunchClockVillain just business as usual]]" angle.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: The brothers both throw this at each other, [[FailedAttemptAtDrama in a naturally poorly handled fashion]], after realizing each were making different arrangements for the factory without informing the other, as well as a particularly brutal defeat by the mouse.
* RefugeInAudacity: The entire film seems to run on this, but moments of particular note would be the very opening scene with {{the fun|InFuneral}}eral, the over-the-top reaction to [[spoiler:the cockroach]] that results in Ernie's restaurant going out of business, and of course the ending--both the false climax where the EscalatingWar finally takes out the mouse (it seems) and the real one with the {{Auction}}.
* RetroUniverse: The film has a 1940s look, but seems to take place in the present day. The Zeppco guy's comments about bringing the factory into the 21st Century imply that it simply takes place in an undefined, anachronistic modern-day setting like Tim Burton's ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' films.
* RubeGoldbergHatesYourGuts: This makes up a lot of the physical comedy.
* SanitySlippage:
** The brothers, but especially Ernie, as they try and get rid of the mouse -- and in the process, destroy the house they are trying to save.
-->'''Lars:''' ''(seeing Ernie with a shotgun)'' What're you gonna do?\\
'''Ernie:''' I'm gonna kill that unspeakable thing once and for all!\\
'''Lars:''' Ernie, no, no--\\
'''Ernie:''' Stand back, Lars! I'm a man on a mission!\\
'''Lars:''' This is how accidents happen! Come on, Ernie, just put the gun down--\\
'''Ernie:''' ''(crazed)'' I'm gonna blow his furry little head off, and I'm gonna splatter his devious little mouse brain from here to kingdom come!
** This also happens to Caesar after being beaten by the mouse, probably for the first time in his career.
* ScarilyCompetentTracker: The exterminator. It still doesn't help.
* SelfMadeMan: Rudolf Smuntz
* ShoutOut:
** If the whole plot wasn't reference enough, the Catzilla scene is basically a live-action WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry cartoon, even sporting some of the slapstick from there. Notably [[LeftTheBackgroundMusicOn making chase tunes as they run around inside a piano]].
*** Also, when Catzilla smashes out of its box, it roars like Franchise/{{Godzilla}}. Rather apropos, given the cat's name.
** "I know some people who used a mouse as a spokesperson. It turned out pretty well." Doubly funny when you realize that this movie was one of Dreamworks' first films, [[TakeThat and they're one of Disney's main competitors]].
** The mouse [[Film/CapeFear clinging to the bottom of the brothers car as a scare chord plays]].
** The portrait of Rudolph Smuntz magically changes from a dour expression to smiling when his descendants make a significant change in their behavior, just like the portrait of [[Film/YoungFrankenstein Viktor Frankenstein]].
** During the auction scene, Ernie greets one of his guests with Hakuna Matata. Nathan Lane voiced Timon in Disney/TheLionKing.
*** For bonus points, Ernie Sabella (the voice of Pumbaa) had a cameo earlier in the film as the owner of the pound.
* SniffSniffNom: The mouse exterminator character mentioned above does this with some droppings to judge the dietary habits of the mouse.
* TemptingFate: "Now you know this house will last FOREVER!" [[spoiler: Just before it collapses right behind Ernie.]]
* ThirdActMisunderstanding: When Lars finds out about Ernie's intentions for the factory. Contributes to the above [[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech "Reason You Suck" Speech]].
* ToiletHumor: As the brothers try to suck up the mouse with the vacuum, they fail to realize that the mouse has escaped and attached the sewage line to the vacuum so that they suck up sewage. As they keep sucking and sucking, the vacuum bag expands larger and larger until finally it explodes, covering the house and the brothers in sewage.
* TooDumbToLive: Both Ernie and Lars. They caused more damages than the freakin mouse.
* {{Understatement}}: "I don't think we're dealing with an ordinary mouse."
* UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom: The brothers wouldn't have to move in the house if it weren't for the cockroach that ruined Ernie, and Lars horrible wife kicking him out.
* VisualPun: [[spoiler: String Cheese.]]
* WellDoneSonGuy: Ernie views his relationship with his father as such, never managing to gain much approval for his cooking profession, outside the string that ties the food together of course.
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