->'''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 Creator/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 ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' films and ''WesternAnimation/{{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 Creator/{{Disney}}. One wonders if they made the film center around [[WesternAnimation/MickeyMouse 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 Website/{{Facebook}} [[VideoGame/MouseHunt app]].

!!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.
* TheAllegedHouse: The mansion the brothers inherit is a rotting, seemingly worthless wreck that they only move into because they have no other option. It turns out to actually be incredibly valuable, but nonetheless is falling apart.
* 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 ''WesternAnimation/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.
* BeautifulCondemnedBuilding: Subverted. The old mansion the brothers inherit from their father is a ruined, rotten wreck, and while Ernie is the most dismissive and contemptuous of it, neither of the brothers is particularly interested in renovating it or sees any value in it...until they discover it is actually a long-lost creation of famous architect Charles Lyle [=LaRue=], at which point they are then eager to restore it. I.e., no character sees the inherent value of the building ''until'' they learn of its hidden financial value, rather than seeing it before the fact and against another's scoffing.
* BerserkButton: When Lars mocks Ernie for being unable to cook, Ernie understandably gets upset since he used to be a well-known chef.
* BigNo: The crying little girl screams this several times while she is dragged away from her kitty cat by her mother out of the City Pound, passing by Ernie and Lars.
* 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 Ernie puts the box down Catzilla's paws punch through the wood with ease and walk around with Catzilla still inside, just so it can hide outside the mousehole. When the mouse investigates, it breaks out of its container, and ''roars'' like Godzilla. Making it all the more impressive when the mouse proceeds to BreakTheBadass.
* [[GodzillaThreshold Catzilla Threshold]]: After failing numerous times to catch or kill the mouse, Ernie [[SanitySlippage has a breakdown]] and opts to just shoot the mouse with a double barreled shotgun, with no regard for the structural damage he's inflicting on the house. And then later tries to flush out the mouse by flooding the house with water, [[GoneHorriblyWrong which doesn't really work out]].
* 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.]''
* CreepyChangingPortrait: The portrait Rudolf Smuntz will change his expression in some scenes.
* 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.
* DeusExMachina: Although she had been featured earlier in the movie and her greediness well-established, April reappearing in the plot and paying off the brothers' mortgage (on the understanding that the mansion would be sold for beaucoup bucks at auction) is this, since at the point she does so the brothers have absolutely no other way to get the money, with the mouse evading all their attempts to get rid of it and the factory having just lost all its workers (''and'' broken down from Lars' attempt to run it by himself).
* DownerBeginning: The movie starts with the Smuntz brother's accidentally dropping their father's corpse down a sewer drain on the day of his funeral. [[FromBadToWorse It goes downhill from there, and that's all before they even meet the infamous mouse.]]
* 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 exactly 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 22 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.
* HumanMail: Unable to kill the mouse after catching it, the brothers ultimately mail it to Cuba. It gets sent back due to insufficient postage.
* 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.]]
** Caeser doesn't think twice about eating mouse droppings as his way of tracking his prey.
** At the auction, one of the guests compliments Ernie on his crepes, saying that she especially likes the raisins. Ernie then realizes that he never put raisins on them. Ew.
* IdiotBall: Both Ernie and Lars. They caused more damages than the mouse.
* 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.
* ItsAllAboutMe: Lars' wife April, who outright states that she is not content being "middle class" and angrily tosses Lars out of the house when he refuses an offer for his father's string factory. She only comes back to him upon learning of the auction for the valuable house he's staying at, having the audacity to cuss out Ernie when the house nearly sells for ''eight million'' just before the bid goes up; she ultimately makes off with one of the millionaires, not giving a second thought of Lars.
* 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 Creator/ChristopherWalken, this shouldn't be a surprise). The brothers also ham up every time they get excited chasing the mouse.
* LaserGuidedKarma: Ernie, smarting from years of having his culinary pursuits dismissed by his father and learning the old man's will has left him with only a ruined mansion and an only slightly-more-valuable string factory, storms out, taking only his father's old cigar box. It's from this box that [[spoiler:the cockroach comes]], ruining his restaurant and setting off the whole plot.
* 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.[[note]]actually some 1920's [[http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/video/two-young-women-dressed-in-matching-blue-jean-overalls-news-footage/137015205 stock footage]][[/note]] They are ''not'' in ''Mouse Hunt''. Tell your friends."
* MouseHole: The mouse retreats into one at every opportunity, usually to inflict some misfortune on whoever or whatever dares to follow him in.
* MouseTrap: This is the first attempt to get rid of the mouse. They find the trap sprung and the olive pit left behind. Undaunted, Ernie goes for his good cheese to bait the next one. The mouse steals the entire wheel while the two are busy waiting for it to spring the trap. Finally, they go for broke and set up [[UpToEleven hundreds of them]]. Cue EpicFail as the mouse shows them just how intelligent he is.
* TheNameless: The mouse doesn't seem to have a name.
* NailEm: Lars nearly kills the mouse by accident as he's nailing in some wooden trim along the floor. Lucky for the mouse, Ernie provides a distraction.
* NeverRecycleABuilding: Justified as the mouse drove out everyone who tried to live in the house.
* NiceMice: [[spoiler:But not until the very end of the movie.]]
* NoIndoorVoice: Ernie. Nathan Lane's voice actor in Brazil said the movie was his hardest work ever because Ernie yells so much he barely had a voice after each day recording the dubbing.
* 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)''
* NoOSHACompliance: The Smuntz String factory catches enough loose threads to rid Lars of his clothes in minutes.
* NoYou: The brothers' big argument is filled with these. Lars snarls that he betrayed him by trying to sell the factory behind his back, while Ernie snarls back that ''he'' betrayed ''him'' by keeping those deals secret when they had equal ownership in the first place. Lars complains Ernie blew up half the building trying to shoot the mouse, which Ernie points out Lars screamed at him to do. Ernie hates Lars, well Lars hates Ernie.
* 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.
--> '''Caeser''': Aw, ''nuts''!
** 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.
* PosthumousCharacter: Rudolf Smuntz is already dead by the time the movie begins. There's a flashback from when he was alive.
* PoundsAreAnimalPrisons: Completely subverted. 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.
* ScreamingWoman: The mayor's wife screams this after her husband suffers a heart attack after eating a cockroach from his dinner at Ernie's fancy restaurant.
* 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.
* {{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.]]
* WeHardlyKnewYe: Mayor [=McKrinkle=] dies at the beginning of the movie from eating half of a cockroach at Ernie's restaurant.
* 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.