Christopher Walken briefly plays an exterminator who takes his work very seriously, and one or two of the special effects provide a momentary sensation of novelty. But this desperately all-ages movie just emphasizes its banality by throwing money and effort into effects and production design at the expense of pacing—perhaps the most crucial element in comedies that furiously juggle many objects and actors. The derivative fable follows two brothers (Nathan Lane and Lee Evans) whose father has died, leaving them a nearly obsolete string factory, an old house of questionable value, and, inadvertently, a persistent mouse. The satire—a thin veneer for the story's real mission: destroying everything in sight—is undermined by the usual tension between characters who value expensive possessions and endless gags that involve wrecking them, as if this will teach the greedy characters not to be so materialistic. As always, a happy coincidence inverts the lesson. Written by Adam Rifkin and directed by Gore Verbinski. 97 min.
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