A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mouse Hunt is a 1997 movie filled with unrelenting comedic pratfall-style violence. The two lead characters use a variety of implements to try to kill a mouse, including a shotgun and a nail gun. The mouse fills the house with gas later and blows the brothers sky-high. In the opening scene, the two brothers drop their father's coffin at the top of the church stairs, resulting in the corpse flying out of the coffin and into a manhole. There are some moments of inappropriate humor: The two lead characters are covered in excrement after accidentally destroying the sewer line with a vacuum, and the exterminator they hire ends up flat on his back with the mouse defecating on his mouth. This same exterminator eats a piece of mouse excrement to determine its diet. Early in the film, the mayor vomits a cockroach while eating in a fancy restaurant. There also are some moments of subtle and not-so-subtle sexual innuendo: A character talks of "making love like in nature films," the greedy wife of one of the lead characters appears in his office in lingerie, and the pursuit of the mouse leads to the two lead characters sticking their hands down the dresses of two women, and, later, unzipping the fly of one of the characters as he screams "Get it out!" There's also occasional profanity ("hell," "son of a bitch," "bastard").
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In the vivacious 1997 movie MOUSE HUNT, Nathan Lane and Lee Evans are hapless brothers out to rid their house of a very shrewd mouse. Anyone who's dealt with mice on the loose in a home knows how pesky they can be. That's part of what makes Mouse Hunt fun; you can't help pitying the poor Smuntz brothers, who go to wild extremes trying to rid themselves of an elusive rodent. Kids will side with the mouse, of course, because it's cute and furry and performs some spectacular stunts (thanks to convincing and sparingly used computer-generated effects).
Is it any good?
Although something of a Home Alone retread, Mouse Hunt has far more brains, heart, and style, which will endear it to adults as well as young viewers. Take heed of the PG rating for excessive cartoon-style violence. About two-thirds of the way through it takes an excessively cruel turn, when the mouse floods the house with gas fumes and blows the brothers sky-high. Kids will eat it up, but parents may wince.
Casting Christopher Walken as an exterminator is just one of many inspired touches that gives this movie its adult appeal. William Hickey is also fine -- in one of his last performances -- as frail old Rudolph Smuntz, whose somber portrait keeps changing expression after he passes on.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about cartoonish violence. How is it used for the sake of humor in this movie? Is it effective?
Why do you think slapstick violence is considered to be funny for some? What would the real-life consequences of this violence be?
Did the humor feel gratuitous to you? Why, or why not?
- In theaters: December 19, 1997
- On DVD or streaming: July 6, 1999
- Cast: Christopher Walken, Lee Evans, Nathan Lane
- Director: Gore Verbinski
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: language, comic sensuality and mayhem
- Last updated: May 5, 2020
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