An inventive, visually dazzling comedy, “Mouse Hunt” is full of surprises. In its ads, “Mouse Hunt” looks a lot like “Home Alone,” but it owes more to Buster Keaton and to Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil.” Instead of sledgehammer sight gags or irony-drenched dialogue, “Mouse Hunt’s” humor is based in the yin/yang of exaggeration and delicate timing: Nathan Lane delaying his reaction when a house collapses around him, the bewildered Lee Evans watching his suit disappear when threads from his clothes get snagged in six turbine engines, or a mouse pirouetting through a room full of traps.
That last scene is brilliant, and it demonstrates director Gore Verbinski’s belief in the audience. “Mouse Hunt” - which details two brothers’ (Lane and Evans) obsessive efforts to rid their home of a wily rodent - takes the time to set up its jokes.
And, because we quickly realize that the punch lines are going to be worth it, we’re willing to go along for the ride.
The cast is tops. I could do without Lane’s ad-libs about his role in “The Lion King,” but the man knows where the jokes are and he knows when giving a joke some breathing room can make it even funnier.
That adorable mouse is the real star of the movie. From the moment you see him snuggled in his bed underneath a postcard of sunny Hawaii, you’ll be rooting for him to build a better humantrap.
xxxx “MOUSE HUNT” Location: North Division, Valley Mall, Post Falls and Showboat Credits: Directed by Gore Verbinski, starring Nathan Lane, Lee Evans Running time: 1:33 Rating: PG