- Movie Rating -

Home Sweet Home Alone (2021)

| November 14, 2021

Back, long ago, when I reviewed Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, I made the statement that Home Alone wasn’t exactly a series that you could build on.  After five sequels of lesser value, that opinion still stands.  It’s not like Star Wars or Batman where you have a universe to play in.  The idea of a kid left alone at home who makes life nightmarish for a pair of invading burglars is kind of a one-off idea.  And yet, somehow it has managed to spawn six feature films; four of which have gone without Macaulay Culkin.

Culkin was really the reason for the success of the first two films.  He was cute, he had a particular way with dialogue.  He could even make mugging for the camera seem not so insufferable.  There probably wasn’t a reason that he needed to be part of two Home Alone movies and there is even less of a reason why we needed four more.  And yet, somehow I keep going back to this series.  For whatever reason I’ve seen all six of these films possibly out of a weird bit of self-sadism.  It’s like poking a sore in your mouth.  You shouldn’t do it but you can’t help it.

All of the entries in this series are. basically, the same.  As I say, there’s not much to build on.  However, Home Sweet Home Alone offers a twist to the formula that seems somewhat cruel.  The bad guys this time aren’t really bad guys, they’re a suburban couple. Pam and Jeff McKenzie (Ellie Kemper and Rod Delaney) who are about to be turned out of their house – he’s unemployed and they can’t meet their mortgage payment.  A miracle befalls them when they discover that a creepy 19th century doll inherited from Jeff’s grandmother is worth a fortune – or at least enough to get them out of trouble.

While showing the house to prospective buyers they are invaded by little Max Trimble (Archie Yates from Jo Jo Rabbit) and when the doll goes missing, they assume that he has stolen it.  Conveniently added to this set of circumstances is the formula of a over-privileged white family who are too busy trying to get their oversized brood onto a plane for Christmas vacation – in this case to Tokyo.

Through sitcom-style misunderstandings, little Max overhears part of their plan and assumes that they are there to kidnap him.  That leads to . . . well you know.  The problem is that when the movie gets to Max’s home defense, -bonking the McKenzies in the head, making them slip on ice, etc. – it’s not funny.  We know that if these two people fail, they’ll be out of their house for the holidays.  When Pam is being electrocuted or Jeff loses a tooth, there’s something sadistic about it.  It’s like this plot wasn’t considered or thought out even though it has a happy ending.

The movie is basically worthless, but I would like to think that there is a future for Archie Yates.  He was one of the better things about JoJo Rabbit and I think he has a winning personality.  It can be hoped that his future includes better movies than this.  Much better.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2021) View IMDB Filed in: Kids