November 12th, 2021
MOVIE: HOME SWEET HOME ALONE
STARRING: ARCHIE YATES, ELLIE KEMPER, ROB DELANEY, AISLING BEA
DIRECTED BY: DAN MAZER
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 1 STAR (Out of 4)
This is the sixth installment into the Home Alone movies- I can’t believe it either- but you wouldn’t be valuing your time if you watched anything beyond the second movie. And because Hollywood just can’t say no, we have the newest entry on Disney+ this weekend with Home Sweet Home Alone. The original Home Alone has a bit of a special place in my heart, a movie that I significantly remember going to see with my entire family at the theater, before my father was out of the picture or teenage angst took hold of life. It’s a classic to me, where the setting is the backyard of Chicago, Macaulay Culkin was an absolute child star, and the various traps made for hilarious 3 Stooges-like comedy. I thought it was a bad idea to make a second Home Alone and that somewhat worked, but Home Sweet Home Alone is an embarrassment as part of Home Alone history, or to even be a Christmas movie at all. I can’t stress it enough that nothing good will come from watching Home Sweet Home Alone.
The plot is simple: Pam (Ellie Kemper) and Jeff (Rob Delaney) are in the process of selling their home, currently looking to downsize, with Jeff out of a job, and savings needed drastically. They don’t tell the kids they’re looking for a new place, so they keep it secret as best they can. Enter stage right is Max (Archie Yates) and his mom Carol (Aisling Bea), stopping at the open house because Max needs to use a bathroom, and in their faux interest in the house, a highly valuable doll goes missing from Jeff and Pam’s home. Max’s family is preparing to leave for Tokyo, there’s a miscommunication of which flight he’s going on, either with his mom or panicky uncle Blake (Pete Holmes), and Max is left…Home Alone. Now Pam and Jeff set up a plan to sneak into Max’s home and get their doll back, with hopes that the money it is worth will save their Christmas and make everyone happy again. Only Max is there ready to protect his home at all costs, even if it means destroying everything in the process.
A significant factor that helped Home Alone work was that Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern’s notorious “Wet Bandits’ ‘ were bad guys, a Laurel and Hardy-like pair of thieves, going from house to house, stealing things. We didn’t feel bad for those guys, we revelled in their pain, and laughed when they fell even harder. That’s not what director Dan Mazer is working with here. The screenplay written by SNL’s Mikey Day and Streeter Seidell is thin, not funny, and incredibly stupid. The premise alone is strange. I kept thinking to myself, “why are you going through all this trouble to sneak into the home? Just go up to the door and ring the bell. Then ask the kid if he has the doll.” I am aware that simple solution would ruin the fun of a kid setting up boobie traps, which range from shooting push pins into someone’s face, putting Mentos into bottles of Coke for explosive results, and throwing bags of flour into faces, but why do we the audience have to suffer through the stupidity? Could you not have come up with a better idea? Home Sweet Home Alone plays like a collection of badly produced sequences that are so dumb, it nearly makes the original Home Alone bad by association.
Poor Archie Yates is not the problem, the spectacled kid from England is oddly miscast. He has the adorable charm of a kid, but neither the swagger, or the comedic chops that Caulkin brought. On top of that his British accent is off-putting, not because it’s British, but because it left me asking questions that director Dan Mazer has no care in answering. And then there are the various traps, a few evoke laughs, but some are just downright cruel. Once again, if these were a pair of criminals we might not care, but instead we’re just dealing with a couple too immature to ring a doorbell and ask a kid a question. Delaney and Kemper equally bring nothing to the table as well. Both are neither not funny or getting the audience to laugh, but they know how to fall hard down the stairs if that helps.
The only answer is that Home Sweet Home Alone is a flop, where nostalgia and the pursuit of holiday season capitalism merge together, creating this monstrosity. There’s a plethora of call backs to the original and a cameo that would work if it wasn’t so sad. If they wanted to make a good Home Alone sequel, there would be an effort for more creativity, a richer appreciation for the Christmas season, or at least a premise with some actual bad guys. Home Sweet Home Alone is best left forgotten, so when you’re scrolling on the menu this season, leave this one alone.
HOME SWEET HOME ALONE PREMIERES ON DISNEY+ THIS FRIDAY NOVEMBER 12TH, 2021
Written by: Leo Brady