It's hard for it not to pale in comparison to its predecessor, "The Mouse That Roared," but "The Mouse on the Moon" is still an amiable enough comedy that it overcomes its own slightness and miniscule budget. The plot -- which concerns the Duchy of Grand Fenwick petitioning the United States for a loan so that it can develop a space program (which is really a cover for the prime minister's insatiable desire for indoor plumbing) -- is amusing and gives director Richard Lester and screenwriter Michael Pertwee plenty of opportunities to draw parallels between the Americans and the Russians as they scramble to beat the tiny country to the moon.
Instead of Peter Sellers in three roles, we have Margaret Rutherford taking over one (as the dotty grand duchess) and Ron Moody taking over another (as the ruthless prime minister). Both are funny enough, but they're no substitute for the real thing. Joining them are a young Bernard Cribbens as Moody's son Vincent, who wants nothing more than to be an astronaut, David Kossoff (one of four actors returning from "The Mouse That Roared") as the ever resourceful Professor Kokintz, and Terry-Thomas as a thoroughly inept British spy. Also watch for John Bluthal in his first of many films for Lester as Von Noldol, the enthusiastic German scientist working for the U.S.
For Richard Lester fans, this is a must-see. After all, this is the film that got him the job directing a certain film starring four lads from Liverpool...
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