(director: Gore Verbinski; screenwriter: Adam Rifkin; cinematographer: Phedon Papamichael; editor: Craig Wood; music: Alan Silvestri; cast: Nathan Lane (Ernie Smuntz), Lee Evans (Lars Smuntz), Maury Chaykin (Alexander Falkin), Vicki Lewis (April Smuntz), Christopher Walken (Caesar the Exterminator), Camilla Soeborg (Hilde), Ernie Sabella (Maury), William Hickey (Rudolf Smuntz), Eric Christmas (Lawyer), Michael Jeter (Quincy Thorpe), Debra Christofferson(Ingrid), Cliff Emmich (Mayor McKrinle); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: Alan Riche/Tony Ludwig/Bruce Cohen; Dreamworks; 1997)
“The comedy shoots for laughs through slapstick and one-liners. The trouble is things are more cheesy than funny.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Gore Verbinski; (“The Lone Ranger”/”The Ring”) helms this limited high-concept comedy, geared for family entertainment. It’s written with spunk by Adam Rifkin. and offers a nod to Laurel & Hardy without approaching their greatness. Hapless brothers, the cynical chef Ernie and the positive thinker dimwit idler Lars Smuntz (Nathan Lane & the Brit comedian Lee Evans), upon the death of their immigrant elderly father (William Hickey, died after shooting the film) inherit his struggling string factory and a musty old house he never lived in.
To their surprise, the house is by a renown architect Ch arles La Rue and is worth a fortune. With an interested buyer, the brothers try to renovate it and put the house up for auction. While the brothers are living in the long abandoned spooky house, they find a destructive mouse is around that can’t be killed. Even the manic professional exterminator Caesar (Christopher Walken) can’t kill the rodent, who threatens to completely destroy the house. The comedy shoots for laughs through slapstick and one-liners. The trouble is things are more cheesy than funny.
REVIEWED ON 6/8/2017 GRADE: C+ https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/