Home Alone: it’s one of those movies that has become a tradition in many households during the holiday season. The 1990 film written by John Hughes is incredibly rewatchable because it’s so quotable, and filled with heart and laughs. With that in mind, any reboot has massive shoes to fill, with the challenge kept evergreen by audiences revisiting it over and over, year after year. One could argue the burden is so great that it’s unfair. That being said, with Dan Mazer's Home Sweet Home Alone, Disney+ is sincerely tries its best to deliver a worthy installment to the franchise.
Home Sweet Home Alone marks the fourth Home Alone movie to be made without Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern and director Chris Columbus . This time, Borat writer Dan Mazer has helmed the project from a script by Saturday Night Live writers Mikey Day and Streeter Seidell. It stars Jojo Rabbit’s breakout kid, Archie Yates, as Max Mercer, who, you guessed it, gets left home alone during the holiday season. The clear lack of originality in the new film earns it some coal in its stocking as it rehashes most of the contents of the original, but there’s a number of redeeming qualities as well that make it watchable anyway.
In a lot of ways, Home Sweet Home Alone is exactly what you’d expect from a Home Alone reboot.
I don’t think anyone is expecting their mind to be blown when they watch a Home Alone sequel. Each of these movies follow a specific gimmick, and this Disney+ release continues the tradition. There’s an adorable kid defending his house, a couple of goons to defend it from, along with a cute message about the holiday season to warm one up. In that sense, Home Sweet Home Alone checks all the boxes and compared to other movies of its franchise that have come post-Kevin McCallister, there’s some love and care wrapped into it. But, do we really want the same gift regifted to us over and over? It seems like a troubling trend for Disney once again. More wasted energy is being put forth in order to appeal to brand recognition or thanks to pure laziness from its executives.
Overall, Home Sweet Home Alone hits just about every beat from the original Home Alone, except this time there are some references that update the premise for the 21st century. Also, the most exciting element of these films, its child left at home, ends up being a rushed plot line as its story moves the focus away from the young protagonist and onto his home invaders.
Rob Delaney and Ellie Kemper are a blast to watch as Max’s bumbling victims.
While Archie Yates deserved more moments than he gets in Home Sweet Home Alone, the pair of successors to the Wet Bandits, played by Rob Delaney and Ellie Kemper, is really the key ingredient that mixes things up for this installment. Delaney and Kemper play husband and wife, Jeff and Pam Fritzovski, who are parents struggling to keep their house as the holidays roll around to the new year.
The pair’s backstory and reasoning to invade Max’s home is well-developed and palpable. They are way more three-dimensional than Pesci and Stern’s characters. and they become more involved in the movie’s message than we’ve seen in a Home Alone film. There’s a number of laugh-out-loud moments between these two as they try to get away unscathed by Max’s antics. The supporting cast also including Kenan Thompson, Ally Maki and Aisling Bea, each of whom have their own standout comedic moments that are quite funny.
Home Sweet Home Alone is mostly a rerun of the classic, but it does sustain a few new ideas.
Home Sweet Home Alone attempts to balance the old with the new, but overall, it’s a very similar experience to the original film. There’s nothing about it that makes it more worthwhile than the 1990 original except for the fact that it’s a new Home Alone movie with some new jokes and traps. The production is thought out and its 94 minute is zippy enough to hold an audience, but, again, it’s also just another remake no one really asked for but exists anyway. If you’re a little bored of the original Home Alone this year, there's enough to it to have fun with it, with Archie Yates being a super cute and talented young star who can step to Kevin McCallister's plate.
YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.
By Mike Reyes
By Mike Reyes