Updated: Nov 26, 2021
I did not like Home Sweet Home Alone. Yet another failed Home Alone sequel with no soul and a bad attempt at copying a blueprint and still somehow managing to mess it up… again.
So because I don’t want to completely hate on this film let’s start with what’s good. The lead: Archie Yates of JoJo Rabbit fame, has shown to be a decently watchable lead star even with bad material. He plays Max Mercer, a kid with pretty similar characteristics and story arc as a ‘certain’ Kevin McAlister from the older films. Just not anywhere near as well executed. However there is something worth mentioning that the film does well (sort of). The world building is pretty cool if you are a diehard Home Alone fan.
Home Sweet Home Alone is officially part of the same “film universe” as the original first 2 films. We are introduced to this concept early on with a McAlister business logo outside of a house. But you may be thinking well that doesn’t mean anything? But I’m not done. As many may already know by now, original character Buzz McAlister returns in this film. The “bully big brother” to Kevin in the classics returns as a careless police officer.
We get to the scene in the police car. Plot of the first film is referenced, Kevin is referenced and in just one scene, I am awakened from my coma that this film was putting me in. I am reminded of Kevin’s demonic nature from the first and second films… Making me feel that Buzz is indeed the exact same character from those films. Kevin too just by description. I say “feel” instead of “know” it’s easy to “know” that it’s the same character but to genuinely “FEEL” it from the writing of that scene in the moment. Simply put, that made me “feel “pretty damn happy. Call me a shill for nostalgia call me whatever but my personal favourite Christmas movie being referenced is gonna get me okay. The idea Kevin as a grown up, calls in a fake police report about a boy home alone to troll/prank Buzz is hilarious and totally something Kevin would do. I also enjoyed the action in the final act with defending the house it was fun but sadly didn’t feel earned…
Now for the bad stuff. The stuff that almost cancels out my praises. Strap yourself in because well, there’s a lot. Let’s start with characters “Pam and Jeff”. These are the classic house invaders of the film, however somethings different. A change to the “Home Alone” formula I mentioned earlier. This film depicts these characters as a couple to feel sorry for. A characterisic that makes no sense for Home alone and the original concept. They are not bad guys. They are just really moronic. The whole films plot could be solved with a simple conversation. This is the main kicker of the film. The film isn’t about the kid being Home Alone. It’s about the house invaders possibly loosing there house. They accuse this boy of stealing a doll that is worth a lot of money. This doll could pay off their bills and house issues. We spend so much time with these two and their development that we never really see Max, the boy who the film is supposedly about.
Which now brings me to Max and his mother, usually in these films a parent and kid seem to badly fallout. It creates some tension when harsh words are going back and forth, making the reunion in the end of the film much more worthwhile. It’s a character arc that is both satisfying and heart-warming. If you are looking for that in Home Sweet Home Alone, sadly subvert your expectations.
We spend too much time with Jeff and Pam, we never actually get to develop anything between Max and his Mum. This than makes their end of film reunion seem hollow and unearned. The scenes where Max is having fun home alone is so rushed and unsatisfying. It’s almost put into a 2 minute compilation and it doesn’t feel right at all. A British impersonation of what came before, and it fails hugely.
Before I conclude due to the fact it’s hard to talk about a movie this long. I also want to quickly talk about a “joke” in the movie which I think marked the point where the film completely lost me. There is a scene where they make a joke about constant reboots and sequels coming out. Then a character literally says “I don’t know why they are always trying to remake the classics, they are never as good as the originals”. I gave up at this point. This wasn’t funny or relatable. At that moment I realised that the film knows it’s bad, all I could say was that maybe the film should take its own advice directly from this scene. Which leads me to the very concept of remaking classics.
The film is partially right when speaking about sticking to classics. In my opinion I believe younger audiences should be able to name their own classics which are new and fresh for them as it is important, they have movies to always go back to. Films that teach important lessons, have great characters and inspires a new generation! But sometimes there is the ‘general people’s’ classic and someone’s ‘very personal’ classic.
If Home Sweet Home Alone is something you loved and you now deem your classic that is great!
However, the film is self-aware and is not as good as the originals so it kind of comes off as pointless and the budget could’ve been used for something more original, something fresh something… personal.