When Home Sweet Home Alone is Managed Under Disney

13 Nov

The tagline "No parents, no problem" and a boy holding large toy gunsBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Available on Disney Plus
Spoiler Alert

Some movie franchises should never be rebooted, or continued after a prolonged absence on the big screen. Home Alone and its sequel are still enjoyable to this day and doesn’t need any continuation. Macaulay Culkin has a charm, innocence and mischievousness to make those films hits and I’d be more excited had it continued with him as an adult dealing with his own kids, and accidentally leaving one behind. 

Home Alone 3 brought in a new lead who didn’t exude those traits and because of that, never succeeded. The fourth film tried to get back to basics, and return to look at the life of the McCallisters. But due to the years gone by, the original actor is much older and another child actor, Mike Weinberg, was put into the role and studio producers hoped nobody would care. Everybody did and this film was universally panned.

Home Sweet Home Alone is the latest entry that introduces a new family, and does something different with the formula. Like the McCallisters, The Mercer family are preparing to enjoy the holidays abroad instead of staying home. Bits of dialogue and a lot of the humour get recycled. The family problems Max (Archie Yates of Jo Jo Rabbit fame) faces are similar. Though this young actor isn’t chummy enough to carry the film, his nemesis, Rob Delaney (Deadpool 2) surprisingly is. This veteran of comedy saves it. The story is more about him, as Jeff McKenzie, who is forced to sell the home. Luxury comes at a cost, and little does he realize that a family heirloom can save them.

When he thinks Max stole it, that’s when the film takes a familiar turn. 

Director Dan Mazer (Borat) manages to tap into the ethos that defines the franchise even though it’s very brief. The best “meta” moment is a line acknowledging his film can’t top the original and he even goes as far as find a talent from the original cast for a cameo. He’ll do the job he’s hired for. Meanwhile, production has to come up with new ways to deliver the pain that’s supposed to stop Jeff and his wife, Pam (Ellie Kemper) from getting precious back. None of those crazy obstacles is as creative as the original. It’s half practical with the most dangerous rendered in CGI. Everyone who knows the past films are tuning in to see how these two can handle the pain like Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) once did. It’s best not to since Disney has an image to uphold instead of giving a violent movie to watch if Deadpool was the director.

This film isn’t bad. There’s a few moments which work, like in delivering two similiar stories about two families experiencing some kind of loss, and trying to find a way to deal with it. Fans of the Home Alone franchise won’t be as forgiving because Disney now manages this property instead of 20th Century Entertainment that they now own. Sometimes, studios don’t know when to rest a property and just wants to milk it for all its worth. 

3 Stars out of 5

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