July 8, 2020
(The Channel Awesome logo is shown, followed by the NC title sequence)
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. Hard to believe a little over 25 years ago, DreamWorks was officially created.
(The "DreamWorks SKG" logo is shown, as well as images of the founders of the company (the "SKG" in the name): Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen, and posters of the first three movies made by DreamWorks, The Peacemaker, Amistad, and this video's topic)
NC (vo): There was good buzz around it, as it was founded by powerhouses, Spielberg, Katzenberg and that third one, but it wasn't until three years later that films were finally being put out. The first was an action film with George Clooney and Nicole Kidman, the second an Oscar drama directed by Spielberg, and the third was a kids' movie, directed by Tim Burton with David Fincher's Crayons... (An image of a box of Crayola crayons is superimposed, all green, with a label on it reading: "DAVID FINCHER CRAYONS", is shown, before we cut to a shot of...) ...Gore Verbinski. How was it?
NC: Um... (looks around shiftily) Very Gore Verbinski. (nods awkwardly)
(The title for Mouse Hunt is shown, followed by footage of the movie)
NC (vo): Mouse Hunt was a surprise hit at the box office, pulling in over $120 million internationally against a $38 million budget. It was a surprise, not because a family film grabbed children's attention with a December release – that's pretty common – but because audiences didn't seem to know what to make of it. It was very ugly-looking, but advertised as bright and colorful. It had a lot of slapstick, though some very uncomfortable moments, too. (The Rotten Tomatoes page for this movie is shown, showing that it received a score of 42% on the Tomotometer) While critics weren't that enthusiastic, audiences... (The audience score is now shown as well, showing that Mouse Hunt received a score of 49% on the Audience Score) ...were a little less not enthusiastic. To this day, whenever I bring the film up, most people don't really know how to react to it. Well, that's why I'm here: to verbalize your thoughts on this movie and shame you if you, in any way, disagree. (A promo image for The Mandalorian is shown, but with the heads of Roger Ebert, Gene Siskel and Gene Shalit) This is the way. So let's go back to more innocent times, before a Verbinski family production meant... (Cut to a clip of the opening of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, showing a young boy about to be hanged) ...hanging little boys in the first few minutes.
(The boy is finally hanged)
NC: Class. This is Mouse Hunt.
NC (vo): The film opens with a profound quote...
(...which reads: "'A world without string is chaos.' -Rudolf Smuntz")
NC: I mean, we were all thinking it, but finally, somebody said it!
(The film begins with a funeral in progress. It is a rainy day, and people congregate outside the church, waiting for the pallbearers to bring out the coffin)
NC (vo): We start off with a funeral...so again, (The hanging scene from Pirates is superimposed a second time) not a huge difference to how he gets things going...as it looks like Rudolf Smuntz is the man who died. He's played by William Hickey. In fact, this is the last film he ever worked on. And boy, do they know how to pay a man proper respect!
(One of the handles of the coffin breaks off and the pallbearers accidentally drop the coffin, which slides down the steps of the church)
Pallbearer: I'm sorry!
(The coffin crashes into the side of one of the parked cars, throwing the coffin forward and launching the corpse of Rudolf Smuntz out of it. He sails through the air, rolling end over end as he does so, and falls down an open manhole into the sewer below, landing in the water with a splash. To the sound of a violin playing, the screen pauses as the following words pop up: "In Memory of William Hickey – 1927-1997". The pallbearers then look down the sewer to see Smuntz's body fall down it)
NC (vo): The pallbearers who botched it up are his sons Lars, played by Lee Evans, and Ernie, played by Nathan Lane. They're given their father's string factory as well as his mansion.
Attorney: (looking at a photo of said mansion) It seems the previous owner was found locked in a trunk in the attic.
(As we cut back to NC, an image of ventriloquist Jeff Dunham with one of his puppets, Peanut, is shown in the corner)
NC: Jeff Dunham worked with puppets so long, he eventually put himself away. (nods)
Lars: (seeing Ernie leave, while holding a ceramic egg) Wait, you can't go. We have to go through all these papers!
(As he turns around, Lars accidentally loses his grip on the egg, and it is flung across the room, bounces off the attorney's head, then bounces off the desk and lands on the floor, shattering to bits. Lars is stunned by what just happened)
NC (vo; deadpan): Wow, how did your slapstick go from flinging a corpse at a funeral into a sewer to egg-bouncing? (A shot of Evel Knievel is superimposed) That's like Evel Knievel following up jumping ten buses with...
NC: (reaching hand out, dopey voice) ..."What's that behind your ear?" (pulls out a quarter)
NC (vo): Ernie runs a fancy restaurant where he pretends to be French, and if you're wondering how Nathan Lane's French accent is, it's about as good as his German. (A shot of Lane as Uncle Albert in The Nutcracker is shown in the corner)
(Ernie's latest customer is the mayor, who is running for reelection, and his family)
Ernie: (to the mayor, French accent) Suivez-moi. Oh, you brought ze little ones, ze little bicycle thieves.
(Unbeknownst to anyone, however, his father's cigar box that Ernie had brought with him to the restaurant opens and a cockroach scurries out)
NC (vo): But he brings his father's box of Cubans into the kitchen, because every chef knows that's sanitary as fuck, and a cockroach gets loose.
(A group of news reporters enter the restaurant)
Reporter: Chef Ernie, how does it feel to be serving the Mayor on the eve of his campaign reelection?
NC: (as Ernie, mock French accent) Wonderful! I have prepared a meal of... (Shots of the following are shown...) ...custard pies, seltzer water... (Next, a shot of a flaming chicken is shown, followed by some lobsters with some metal shell crackers next to them) ...and the finest in flaming and very sharp foods. Now kindly have a seat next to my anvil collection. (A shot of a stack of anvils is shown)
(Unfortunately, the Mayor is unknowingly served the cockroach and he bites its head off. When his children realizes the headless cockroach is still there, they become grossed out, and the Mayor freaks out and spits out the cockroach head. This causes him to have a heart attack from the shock and fall over unconscious. The reporters crowd around him)
NC (vo): The Mayor eats the head of the cockroach, resulting in my favorite shot in the movie.
(Ernie stands there, looking quite traumatized, as the news reporters now crowd around him, demanding to know if he intended to murder the Mayor)
NC: That's the look of... (The image is shown again in the corner; as Ernie) "My party's leader said what?"
(The Mayor is taken away in an ambulance, where they try vainly to revive him, but it's no use; he's dead. Meanwhile, at the string factory, Lars is approached by two men working for Zeppco International)
NC (vo): Thus, the Mayor kicks the bucket and the restaurant closes. Lars is given an offer to sell off the factory, but a piece of string in his pocket sets off a memory.
(Lars has a flashback to his dying father on his death bed. Rudolf gives Lars and Ernie a piece of string)
Rudolf: It's been in my pocket for sixty years. Here. Maybe it'll bring you closer together.
(As we cut back to NC, a collage of shots of Nathan Lane's other characters throughout the years is shown, all in various duo roles with other characters: Albert Goldman in The Birdcage, Spot on Teacher's Pet, Timon in The Lion King, Snowbell in Stuart Little, and Max Bialystock in the 2005 version of The Producers)
NC: (as Ernie) Yeah, Lord knows I've been in enough duos. When am I gonna star in my own movie?!
NC (vo): His father asked Lars not to sell the factory, so he turns down the offer. His wife gets pissed and decides to break up with him.
(Lars is confronted by his angry wife, April, played by Vicki Lewis)
April Smuntz: That's all you've ever had: a plan.
Lars: Please, April, don't go.
April: I'm not going anywhere.
(She dramatically slams Lars' suitcase shut, and the next scene shows Lars standing outside April's door in the snow, which she has slammed shut so hard that a Christmas wreath hanging on the door falls to the ground with a crash)
NC: So you may pick up the best jokes in this movie are the insanely mean ones, and the worst jokes... (struggles for words, voice turns sour)
NC (vo): ...leave room for the Fuller House laugh track.
(Ernie and Lars, now down on their luck, trudge down the street. They spot a homeless man and then spot two women walking past them. Ernie greets them, but they ignore him)
Ernie: Yeah, I was on top once, too. But there's only one way to go from there, and that's down, baby, down!
(The sound of a laugh track is heard, as we cut briefly to a clip of an episode of Fuller House. Lars, after being dumped by April, goes to a diner where Ernie is working now)
NC (vo): Lars sees Ernie is working at a local diner now...honestly, I'm surprised he got work that fast.
NC: Even Denny's would say, (makes a phone shape with his hands (pinkie and thumb)) "We'll call you."
NC (vo): ...and both of them try to figure out what to do.
(The brothers look through the window of a bakery to see a cake on display reading "Welcome Home", with a model of a mansion placed on top of it. We then dissolve to a shot of the exact same house, the one their father left them, that the brothers drive up to)
NC (vo): In a pretty damn impressive transition...
(A shot of the sunrise from Spaceballs is shown in the corner)
Barf (John Candy): Nice dissolve.
(The brothers enter the house)
NC (vo): ...they get the idea to spend the night in the mansion.
(It is pretty dark and rundown inside. They enter the bedroom at the top of the stairs)
Ernie: (to Lars) Only one bed. I'll flip you for it.
(Lars tosses a quarter in the air. It lands on the floor on its side and spins around. Ernie shines his flashlight on it. The quarter stops spinning and stays upright, not falling over. The brothers stare at each other)
NC: I knew it, we're in Inception! (A shot of Inception is shown, with the phrase Inception Is Also Mouse Hunt) Have fun with that film theory.
NC (vo): They share the same bed, but hear something creaking upstairs. I sense "boomp-boomp music".
(Lars and Ernie go up into the attic to investigate the creaking as said "boomp-boomp" music plays. Lars sees a box and picks it up)
(They open the box and a swarm of moths fly out, startling the brothers. They recoil, and Ernie accidentally puts his head through a painting of a woman in the corner, right where the woman's head is. Another laugh track is heard as we cut again to the Fuller House episode in question)
Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber): That's pretty white.
(Cut back to the movie, as, to a thunder crash, a bolt of lightning flashes, illuminating a huge scary shadow, which freaks the brothers out. But then when they look, they notice where the shadow is coming from and try to calm down)
Ernie: It's only a toy. (...which turns out to be a jack-in-the-box)
(The brothers hear another noise coming from the ceiling above, so Lars lifts Ernie up into the ceiling to look. Ernie's head smashes through the ceiling, and he sees a mouse that then scurries off)
Ernie: It's just a mouse.
NC (vo): They come across a mouse and blueprints that show the house was designed by a legendary architect named LaRue, summoning every '90s character actor.
(The brothers are met by a home collector named Alexander Falko, played by Maury Chaykin)
Falko: (to an aid) Glass of rain water.
Quincy Thorpe (Michael Jeter): (to the brothers) Yes. Mr. Falko is the world's leading collector of LaRue.
NC (vo): The collector is thrown off, though, when he discovers Ernie wants to do an auction as opposed to just sell it to him.
Falko: (to Thorpe) What is this?
Thorpe: It's the–
Falko: What is this?
Thorpe: It's the first time I've heard–
Falko: (overlapping) No, no.
Lars: (to Ernie, whispering) Smart! (turns to walk off, but bumps his head on an outcropping)
NC: This movie is like a tennis match between a laugh and a cringe.
Falko: What is this?
Thorpe: It's the first time I've heard–
Falko: (overlapping) No, no.
NC: Like, that was a laugh. (The scene of Lars bumping his head is shown again) That was another Fuller House laugh track.
(The scene of Lars bumping his head is shown a third time, this time with a laugh track, as we cut to yet another clip of an episode of Fuller House, showing off a baby there. Back to the movie, the brothers see the mouse again)
NC (vo): They see the mouse again later that night, and Ernie decides to axe it off.
(Ernie goes into the kitchen to get a mouse trap with Lars behind him)
Lars: Do we really have to...kill it?
Ernie: Yes. Listen to me, a single vermin can bring you down. Believe me, I know.
(As we cut back to NC, an image of Timon is displayed in the corner. NC looks toward the image)
NC: He's definitely talking about that.
(Ernie sets up a mouse trap with an olive as bait, but the next morning, they see the mouse has snapped the trap without getting killed. They then find the mouse and chase it, Ernie carrying a broom and Lars carrying a meat tenderizer)
NC (vo): They set up a trap, but the mouse thwarts it, resulting in more slapstick.
(Ernie tries to stop the mouse with his hand, but Lars accidentally hits Ernie's hand with the tenderizer, making him yell in pain. Lars then looks into the mouse's hole)
Ernie: Let me see! (Lars moves aside so Ernie can look in. He then turns to Lars, speaking softly but dangerously) Get me my Gouda.
NC: Only Nathan Lane can make that line sound intimidating.
(Ernie sets another mouse trap with a piece of Gouda cheese, then goes outside with Lars to work on the house)
NC (vo): They place it on the trap as we witness – get this – more slapstick!
(As Lars is hammering a new plank into the house, the head comes off and hits a bucket full of panels, which in turn falls over off the roof. Lars notices the head of his hammer is missing and he then hears the sound of Ernie yelling. Lars looks over to see the bucket of planks, which have fallen on Ernie and knocked him to the ground, with the bucket on his head)
NC: So here's the thing about slapstick: it's usually the funniest when either something major is on the line or it looks really painful.
(Clips of the brothers working on the house and engaging in slapstick is shown)
NC (vo): Making errors fixing up a house isn't that big a stake. I mean, they still have time to repair it. And the physicality is either done off-screen or it just doesn't look like it hurts that much, at least when you compare how many times the same shtick has been done. (Cut to a clip of Home Alone, showing Harry angrily beating Marv with his crowbar)
(Back to the movie, we see inside the walls of the house, where the mouse has set up a little home, with a jewel box for a bed and a watch for an alarm clock, with a poster for Hawaii on the wall. Suddenly, however, nails start shooting in through the wall, destroying the mouse's home. It's coming from Lars who is using a nail gun to put in new planks. The mouse has to flee to avoid being impaled on the nails as they come toward him, eventually trapping him)
NC (vo): But, something like seeing the mouse sleep in a bed and then his home is violently invaded is pretty funny. His nap is interrupted, his home is being obliterated, his life is intensely threatened. But to the brothers, it's just redecorating. So, every time I get excited for a good setup like this, I roll my eyes when I see a bathtub thrown into the mix. I bet no one's gonna be riding that soon.
(The brothers start to carry a bathtub with a cardboard woman on it up the stairs, until Ernie gets startled by the mouse's distorted reflection in a bottle, causing him to lose his grip and fall backwards into the tub. Lars falls in as well as the tub slides down the stairs, out the door and down a snowy hill as the brothers scream)
NC: Oh, also, you don't... (Zoom in on Lane smiling while sliding down the hill) ...SMILE while you're screaming in terror! (Puts his fists on his sides) How dare you have fun filming this!
(Back in the house, the brothers cover the kitchen floor with mouse traps. They try to leave, but find themselves trapped in, with the only door out locked and nailed shut. A wide shot then shows the floor completely covered with mouse traps. The next morning, the mouse makes his way around the traps and across the shelves to a bowl of cherries)
NC (vo): They set up a ton more traps, but, wouldn't you know it, their escape route won't open, and the mouse doesn't set off any of them. At least, not while he's down there.
(The mouse jumps onto a spoon, knocking a cherry onto the floor. It lands on a mouse trap and sets it off, triggering a chain reaction that sets off all of them. The brothers scream as the mouse traps go off and head toward them like a tidal wave)
NC (vo, as Ernie): Oh, no! They're heading towards us! Let's roll into them!
(The two, for some reason, grab onto each other and roll into the oncoming traps, getting covered in them. After they recover, Ernie grabs a vacuum)
(Lars plugs in the vacuum and Ernie pushes the hose into the mouse's hole, trying to suck him up, but the mouse makes him hit a sewage line, causing him to suck up gallons of sewage)
NC (vo): They try using a vacuum to get him, but accidentally get the sewage line instead.
(The vacuum's bag becomes overfilled with sewage and then bursts, spreading sewage everywhere as the mouse watches from outside)
NC: (simpleton voice) Poop is a physical fart.
(Just then, at the front door, they hear the sound of hammering, as a banker is seen hammering a foreclosure notice to the door. The brothers open the door and the banker sees them covered in sewage)
NC (vo): But get this: the house is being foreclosed on in two days. Kinda odd they didn't receive more reminders about that. What, was their secretary Jennifer Connelly? (A shot of Kathy Nicolo from House of Sand and Fog is superimposed. To a rimshot sound, the phrase "'HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG' JOKES, ALWAYS A WIN!" pops up. Then we cut to the next scene, as the brothers arrive at the city pound to get a cat, hoping to use it to get rid of that mouse) But who cares? Mouse! That clearly takes number-one priority. So they go to the pound and...yeah...
NC: (grinning) Let's get mean again. Let's get Gore Verbinski mean.
(As Ernie and Lars arrive at the pound, they spot a mother and daughter leaving, the girl being dragged along by her mother as she struggles to pull away from her and vainly reach out behind her, kicking and screaming)
Little girl: (hysterically) NO! NO, MOMMY! I WANT MY KITTY!!
(Lars stares in confusion at the mother and daughter before going in. Then we cut to a shot of a commercial for the video release of the movie)
Commercial announcer: Mouse Hunt. Own it today!
(Inside, two people in huge protective suits walk into what looks like a gas chamber taking a caged kitten (presumably having belonged to the little girl) with it. One of the employees stands in front of two showers to wash off)
NC (vo; snickers): This is just how people get ready to each lunch now.
(A pound worker named Maury, played by Ernie Sabella, takes Lars and Ernie inside to look for a cat)
NC (vo): They go looking for a cat, but it looks like all the pound has is kittens.
Ernie: We really need a ferocious feline, preferably with a history of mental illness. I'm talking...one mean pussy.
NC: That held up great.
Ernie: ...one mean pussy.
NC (vo, as Ernie): I can say that. I'm gay! Or...wait, does that make it worse?
(Maury brings Lars and Ernie over to a box containing a large, aggressive cat named Catzilla, who is clearly heard growling inside)
Maury: He's spent most of his whole life in that box, I expect.
NC (vo): They're introduced to Catzilla, and, again, the meanest shit really is the funniest.
(The brothers lean in close to the box to tease Catzilla, who growls, shaking the box as it does so. The brothers recoil as Maury zaps the cat with an electric rod to quell him. The cat shrieks)
NC (vo): Jesus!
NC: Who created this character, Don Bluth?! (A shot of Dragon from The Secret of NIMH is shown in the corner)
(Impressed by Catzilla, the brothers agree to take it. They bring the cat to their home, but Lars, carrying the crate, stumbles and drops the crate, which falls to the ground)
NC (vo): Despite the effects being fake, this really is a funny as hell bit.
(Catzilla smashes holes in the crate, reaching his paws out. The brother recoil. The mouse peers through a crack in the crate to hear the cat growling. The cat then bursts out of his crate, letting out a Godzilla-like roar as he does so. Catzilla is a vicious creature as he looks in close to the camera)
NC: I'm so glad they released the [Zack] Snyder cut of the Tom and Jerry movie. (A poster for Tom and Jerry: The Movie is shown in the corner)
(As Catzilla chases the mouse through the house, the chase leads to a dumbwaiter. Catzilla enters the box while the mouse climbs up on the rope pulley holding it up. The mouse cuts through the rope with his teeth and the rope snaps. Catzilla only has enough time to deliver a surprised meow before it, along with the dumbwaiter, plummets to the floor below)
NC (vo): The mouse, of course, outsmarts the feline, and they finally call a creepy exterminator, played by...oh, who else could play this part in 1997?
(That would be Christopher Walken, who plays said exterminator, named Caesar. He drives up to the house in a van with a giant cockroach on top. He looks around at the house)
Caesar: (to Ernie and Lars) You got asbestos, all right. I bet it's up in the ceiling, mostly. Shouldn't take me more than a day...or two...to remove it.
NC: Can't tell if he's tricking the mouse or if this is just a normal Walken performance.
Caesar: Normal people are not...psychologically equipped...to catch mice. You have to get...inside their mind.
NC: Fuck Deer Hunter; THIS is the most believable performance he's ever played!
(With Caesar dealing with the mouse, the brothers drive back to the factory, where the workers are going on strike after being told they won't be getting paid. Lars then tries to do the work himself, hoping to make enough money to pay for the house)
NC (vo): They tell the workers they have to delay their paychecks, causing them to go on strike, leaving Lars to do literally the heavy lifting.
(Said heavy lifting involves Lars holding up a huge spool of string. He threads the string through a needle, but a machine arm grabs it, catching on his clothes, much to his alarm)
NC: Dude, is this string-making or Skynet?
(Soon the machine catches on all of Lars' clothes, causing them to unravel and ruin his clothes. He lets out a yell as the threads unravel. Meanwhile, back at the house, Caesar continues to hunt for the mouse)
NC (vo): He gets several threads stuck in the machines, while Walken continues to hunt for (A shot of Reed Thimple, Walken's character from The Country Bears, is shown in the corner) bears– I mean, mice. It's the same character!
Caesar: (spotting mouse dung on the floor) Defecating, dining room. (tastes the dung) What's this? A slight calcium deficiency.
NC: (weirded out) It's gonna sound weird, but I honestly thought Christopher Walken...
NC (vo): ...eating mouse shit would a lot more entertaining.
NC: (holding up hand in defense) Still fucking bizarre! But not that entertaining.
(And with that, we go to a commercial break. Upon return, the movie resumes with Ernie at a pay phone, calling up Zeppco, the company that was interested in buying the brothers' factory)
NC (vo): Ernie discovers there was an offer made on the factory, so he calls them up and says he's now interested, saying he'll meet them at a public location.
(As he sits on a bench in the city, he spots two women sitting on a bench on the opposite street. They smile and wave to him. Ernie laughs and waves back with his tie. The women giggle)
NC: (mimics Timon) Ladies, have you got your gaydars crossed! (A shot of Timon is shown in the corner)
(Ernie goes to meet the ladies, lifting up his hat to tip it to them, but a gust of wind blows it into the street. He runs after it, only to see a bus coming at him, resulting in him being hospitalized and missing his appointment with Zeppco. Then we cut back to the string factory, where Lars runs into his office, totally naked, his clothes having been torn up by the machinery. To his surprise, his wife April sees him there)
NC (vo): He loses his hat and chases it, getting hit by a car, while back at the office, Lars' wife finds out about him inheriting the valuable house.
April: (seeing Lars trying to cover up his private parts with the balls of string made from his clothes) You look like you could use some... (takes off her coat, revealing a corset underneath) warming up.
(The painting of Rudolf on the back wall widens its eyes, presumably at the whole thing going on)
NC (vo): I thought I could die without seeing William Hickey's come face.
NC: (looking visibly uncomfortable) Thank God Mouse Hunt was there to provide me that opportunity.
(Back at the house, Caesar is still hunting for the mouse, not realizing that the mouse has discreetly tied one of Caesar's cords to his van)
NC (vo): Back at the mansion, the mouse hooks Walken's cord to the van, causing him to get dragged all throughout the house. A classic routine.
(The mouse pushes down a lever, causing the cord to pull Caesar backwards, dragging him through the house and down the stairs to outside, splitting the boards as he screams helplessly)
NC: (shaking head) Why isn't this funny?
NC (vo): Isn't it kind of impossible to see Walken dragged through wooden boards and not get a laugh?
(A clip of the Looney Tunes cartoon Mouse Wreckers is shown: the mice Bertie and Hubie have tied a string to Claude Cat's tail, threaded it through the house and tied the other end to a rock on top of the chimney. They push the rock off the chimney so that Claude goes careening through the house, being dragged by the string and smashing everything in his path: rungs on a ladder, dishes on a kitchen table, etc.)
NC (vo): The only thing I can figure is, in a cartoon, you can make the character go the speed you need to make the impact of that stuff break up, once again making it seem more painful.
(Cut back to Caesar careening through the house, going at a comparatively slower pace, eventually coming to a stop in front of the van. The mouse looks down at Caesar, who stares back as the mouse crawls across Caesar's face and body and goes back into the house)
NC (vo): Here, he's going the speed of a backstroke. It just doesn't feel authentic.The only chuckle I got is seeing that Walken's face is surprisingly weirder-looking upside-down than it is right-side-up.
NC: I don't know why. I thought it looked more normal flipped.
(Lars and Ernie drive back to the house, with Lars wearing April's coat and Ernie having recovered from getting hit by the bus. As they drive, they see a tow truck taking Caesar's van away going in the other direction. They arrive back at the house to see a battered Caesar, having gone mad from the experience, being taken away on a stretcher while police and paramedics surround the house)
NC (vo): Ernie finds out Lars' wife gave them the money needed to keep the house as well as her clothes because...I don't know, we gotta hit every screwball comedy cliche. Time for Walken's what-the-fuck line of the movie.
(The paramedics set Caesar down and Ernie tries to ask him if he got rid of the mouse)
Caesar: What's that? Horse? FIENDISH! I won't eat it! (screams crazily)
NC: I'm going to repeat that because you deserve to know if he said what you think he said.
(The scene replays, at a slower pace, with text showing what Caesar just said)
NC: (shrugs) All I can say is Catch Me If You Can would be a very different movie if that was the opening speech.
(Cut to a clip of Catch Me If You Can, showing the elder Frank Abagnale (played by Walken) giving his big speech)
Caesar (vo; dubbed over Abagnale): What's that? Horse? FIENDISH! I won't eat it!
(Everyone applauds, including Abagnale's son, Frank, Jr. (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), and they rise to their feet while doing so)
NC: How is that not a bumper sticker? (Caesar's phrase pops up on a purple rectangle) Everybody would get it!
(The brothers walk into the house and notice the damage. Ernie finds Caesar's voice recorder and picks it up)
NC (vo): But wait, it gets funnier. Walken's recorder is left when they found him, of course, locked in a trunk in the attic.
(The brothers listen to the recording)
Caesar: (on recording) What is that? (Sounds of him getting tied up and struggling are heard) That tickles! (screams and a thud are heard)
NC: I'm already wishing this was the origin story to the Headless Horseman. (An image of Walken as the Headless Horseman from Sleepy Hollow appears in the corner as NC shakes his head)
(Lars and Ernie chase the mouse into the chimney. Ernie climbs up through the chimney after the mouse, only to get stuck, and the mouse releases the gas)
NC (vo): They once again find the mouse and chase after him. But he releases the gas, and, of course, Lars needs to light a match.
(Lars tries to turn on his flashlight to give Ernie some light, but the batteries go out, so Lars lights a match instead. However, the gas in the room causes an explosion that blows Lars backwards into a china cabinet (smashing the glass and china in the process), while Ernie in the chimney is surrounded by raging flames which shoot him out of the chimney in a ball of fire like a shot out of a cannon and into the frozen lake, where he sinks down into the submerged tub, the cardboard cutout of the woman still intact)
NC: Okay, shit! You made the tub work! I am so sorry. I was looking at your four-year plan and not your eight-year plan.
(Lars falls out of the china cabinet which then falls down onto his fingers. As he brings his head up, groaning in pain, his head smashes through the back of the cabinet. Meanwhile, Ernie in the lake spots the cutout of the woman in the tub)
NC (vo): In a scene so funny, I actually found myself crying from laughter, the two of them explain what happened but only through whimpering grunts. (A soaking wet Ernie reenters the house) They are so traumatized, they can't even form words.
(They point around toward the house, gasping for breath and unable to speak, except in squeaks and whimpering. Then Ernie storms off)
NC: This is one of those movies that's actually more painful when it's funny! Because when it's funny, it's so funny! And when it's not, it's kindergarten lame!
NC (vo): Gollum went back and forth less than this movie!
(The brothers spot the mouse retreating into the floor through a knothole. Ernie aims a shotgun through the hole, not realizing that the gun is hovering right above something else under the floor: a canister belonging to Caesar labeled "BUG BOMB")
Lars: (screaming) FIRE!!!!
(Ernie pulls the trigger and the gunshot inevitably causes the bug bomb to explode and blow a huge hole in the floor, which the brothers fall into, landing in the basement)
NC: Well, I already know the ending: the house is bought...
(Footage of Home Alone 2, specifically the booby traps sequence, is shown)
NC (vo): ...by Rob McCallister, and Kevin uses it later basically to recreate the exact same scenarios.
NC: It's the prequel to the prequel everybody wanted. (The posters for the first two Home Alone films are shown in different upper corners)
(The brothers walk back up to the first floor and begin to argue after hearing a voice message from the bosses from Zeppco withdrawing their offer on the factory since Ernie never showed up)
NC (vo): The people who made the offer before call, and Lars realizes Ernie was going to sell the factory.
Lars: (to Ernie, angrily) You think I didn't have other things I wanted to do with my life? You think I didn't have ambitions of my own?!
NC: (as Lars) I wanted to be an architect! (A shot of Norman Phipps, Lee Evans' character from There's Something About Mary, is shown in the corner)
(Lars grabs an orange and prepares to throw it at Ernie)
Ernie: Give it to me, then! Go ahead!
(Lars throws the orange, but Ernie ducks, causing the orange to hit the mouse who was right behind Ernie. The mouse lies unconscious)
NC: Okay, I did not see that coming. (nods)
NC (vo): Kid's picture, right? Christ, you should have made this the poster. (The title appears above the unconscious mouse) It'd sell less tickets, but it'd be more honest.
(The brothers, surprised that they finally got the mouse, advance on him to finish the job, Lars holding a fireplace shovel, but he starts wimping out on hitting him with it)
Lars: I can't just hit him with a shovel.
Ernie: (sharply) Why not?! He's Hitler with a tail!
NC: (as Ernie) I know, it was a song in The Producers and Nutcracker 3D. (The posters of the following are shown on the left and the right)
(Ernie takes the shovel to hit the mouse with it, but he wimps out on killing the mouse, too)
NC (vo): They find they can't finish him off, so they decide to mail him to Fidel Castro. 'Cause why the hell not?
(As the brothers ride in the back of a taxi to the post office, Ernie holds a box containing the mouse inside. Once the mouse is shipped, April pays off the house mortgage and the two brothers clean up the house, repairing any and all damages. Then the auction arrives, with all manner of people coming in to bid on the house. They even have a small orchestra to provide music)
NC (vo): They get the place paid off, even manage to clean it up... (A shot of the huge hole in the floor from earlier is shown) Yeah, okay...and the auction finally begins.
(Two ladies arrive at the door, named Hilde and Ingrid. Ingrid has a strange braided hairdo, while Hilde has her hair braided in a huge spool)
Ernie: Hello, ladies! How magnificent!
NC: (stunned) What the hell?
(As the two women are shown again, a shot of Cinderella's Fairy Godmother is shown in the corner, holding what looks like a cup of something-or-other)
NC (vo): Did Cinderella's Fairy Godmother get drunk again?
Ernie: (spotting a Sheik and bowing to him) Ah, hakuna matata.
(A red bar is shown off to the side, with the word "LAUGHS" underneath it. The bar disappears)
NC: There went all the laughs from before. Sorry, that one joke canceled them all out!
(Lars goes outside and discovers, to his shock, that the mouse has been shipped back to the brothers because of insufficient postage. What's more, there's a huge hole in the corner of the box that the mouse has chewed his out of and has now gone back into the house)
NC (vo): But it looks like the mouse was mailed back...I mean, is that surprising? (A shot of Fidel Castro surrounded by mice is superimposed) Did Castro have a mouse fetish? I never got this...and he, of course, crashes the auction.
(As Ernie starts the auction, he discovers the mouse crawl through the podium. He turns the podium over to the auctioneer, played by Ian Abercrombie, but not before grabbing away the microphone briefly)
Ernie: (whispering) No matter what happens, keep going. (gives microphone back)
NC: (shrugs) That was the first thing they said on set every day.
(Lars spots the mouse crawling out of Hilde's spool hairdo and discreetly reaches up to grab him. But the mouse suddenly jumps down in Hilde's breasts and Lars quickly tries to reach his hand through her breasts to get the mouse)
NC (vo): Hey, DreamWorks? Doing your first kid's movie? Be sure to put this in; it'll age great.
(As Lars reaches his hand through Hilde's breasts, Hilde widens her eyes and moves around slightly, but has no other reaction. The others around them only barely react, too)
Auctioneer: An advance on $2 million.
NC: Huh, nobody cares or notices. (shrugs) Must be a Hollywood party.
(As Ernie buries his face in his hand at Lars' actions, Ingrid grabs his hand and puts it in her own cleavage. She smiles, trying to seem casual, while Ernie makes a clearly uncomfortable face)
NC: That's...exactly the face Nathan Lane would make in this scenario.
(Lars manages to grab the mouse out of Hilde's cleavage, but the mouse crawls down his sleeve and into his pants. Ernie, having removed his hand from Ingrid's cleavage, reaches into the front of Lars' pants to grab the mouse)
NC (vo): Oop, he's on the rebound.
(The mouse escapes out of Lars' pant leg and runs away)
Auctioneer: ...six million dollars.
(At one point, Ernie obliviously knocks a lit cigarette into Hilde's spool and Ingrid notices the smoke)
Ingrid: Hilde's spool is smoking!
(Ernie tries to put out the smoke with an alcoholic drink, but it causes the smoke to burst into flame. Meanwhile, the brothers grab a garden hose from outside and bring it inside, where they start spraying the water into the mousehole to flood the mouse out. Unfortunately, this results in the walls giving way and causing a huge tidal wave of water that washes everyone out of the house. Everyone tries to leave, but Ernie pleads with them to stay, insisting that it's an example of how sturdy the house is and that it will last forever – right at the moment that the house suddenly collapses into rubble, destroyed for good)
NC (vo): A cigarette lights the lady's hair on fire; they try flooding the mouse out of the hole, filling the room with water in a matter of seconds, causing the house to collapse, because physics. (Ernie and Lars stand on the remains of the house, but notice their father's string floating down towards them) But a heavenly light drops their father's string on them...
NC: (pleading) Oh, no, movie, please don't do this! You were so beautifully mean-spirited!
NC (vo): ...and they drive to the factory, which suddenly starts operating.
(A block of cheese moves along a conveyor belt before dropping into the machinery, creating a ball of string cheese. Lars picks up the string cheese ball and Ernie tastes a piece of it)
Ernie: It's cheese.
(The mouse appears in the factory, having not only survived the collapse of the house, but also discreetly accompanied the brothers to the factory, where he helped create the string cheese. Soon, the factory is converted into a string cheese factory)
NC (vo): So, they transform the string factory into a cheese factory, because that's...naturally where the story should go.
Ernie: (to the mouse, who sits on Ernie's shoulder wearing a tiny chef's hat) [What] I really want to talk to you about is expansion and marketing. You should be our spokesperson. I know some people who used a mouse as a spokesperson and it seemed to work out pretty well.
NC: (as Ernie) We'll be stealing their ideas for a few years, in fact. (Posters for Antz, Shark Tale and Madagascar are shown along the bottom of the screen) It's almost like one of our big players worked for them. (A shot of Jeffrey Katzenberg is shown in the corner)
(The final shots in this movie are of the painting of Rudolf Smuntz from earlier, now smiling this time...)
NC (vo): Yeah, that picture's haunted.
(...and next to it, his string, encased in a glass frame, accompanied by a plaque reading the "profound" quote from the start of the movie: "'A World Without String Is Chaos.' -R. Smuntz")
NC: (looking around awkwardly) Umm...that was Mouse Hunt! I can see why a lot of people didn't know what to make of it.
(Footage of the movie is shown one more time as NC gives his final thoughts)
NC (vo): It's tough. On the one hand, there's a lot of things I really do enjoy about it. I like the darker look, I enjoy when it's mean-spirited, there are some really good laughs, and, yeah, I, have a soft spot for those old-school slapstick comedies like Three Stooges, What's Up, Doc?, and Laurel and Hardy. Hell, the main characters are called Lars and Ernie. (A picture of Laurel and Hardy is superimposed) Clearly, this is a send-up to that type of comedy. On the other hand, though, when it doesn't work, it feels really dated and too kid-friendly. There's so many times when it feels like it's trying too hard, going too big, too silly, 'cause, you know, that's what they did in Laurel and Hardy movies. But when it's not trying too hard, it hits just the right notes. I guess that's a better problem to have: somebody trying too hard, as opposed to not hard enough. I think when that happens, the film is more likely to leave a bigger impact. So I guess it depends on your mood. If you're in a forgiving nature, you'll find some really solid laughs and clever scenes. But if you're looking for something more cynical and modern, this isn't the flick to check out. I guess I'm glad I saw it. I mean, I feel like this was written as a run-of-the-mill children's flick, but Gore Verbinski's direction helped give it a darker, but also timeless look that elevated it a bit. And that's almost the problem: it could have been elevated even more. I suppose you could see this movie as a mess, but there's an old-fashioned feel to it I can't help but admire. It's not a good movie, but it has good moments. And if that's enough for you, it's definitely worth taking a look.
NC: I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. (gets up and leaves)
Channel Awesome tagline – Caesar: What's that? Horse? FIENDISH! I won't eat it!
(Cut back to NC as he sits in his seat again, this time with his new cat, Buster, in his lap)
NC: (stroking Buster) Buster, I really don't want to do this review with you in my lap. I say "mouse" a lot. (looks up as Buster raises his tail) Okay, um...this is happening whether I want. Just keep your tail down. Tail down. (looks up again) Okay. (Buster gets down) So if you hear purring anywhere in this review, that's why.
(The credits roll)