Anyone who follows my content knows how much I love the original Home Alone from1990. I saw it when I was just about to turn10 with my grandparents in California and it was the first comedy I really connected with. The whole premise of a kid being alone and not only getting by but defending his home from bad guys was very empowering and hilarious. I still love it to this day.
Then we got a really solid if familiar sequel in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York which benefited from the presence of Tim Curry as most movies do. By the time the remaining sequels came out I was a teenager and I honestly have still never seen 3-5 but they seemed harmless enough.
Now we have a sequel from Disney on Disney Plus with Home Sweet Home Alone and I was actually optimistic this might help reinvigorate the series. I like young Archie Yates and the rest of the cast looked solid. I didn’t even mind the trailer which most of film twitter immediately rejected.
Unfortunately my hopes were in vain because Home Sweet Home Alone is one of the most misguided remakes of recent memory. It’s as if the makers had no idea what made the original special and make some of the most baffling decisions they could have made.
The biggest problem is they decide to make the focus of the film on the robbers, a couple played by Ellie Kemper and Rob Delaney, instead of the young boy Max (Yates). We get a detailed backstory into why they need to break into the Max’s house and we meet their children and find out they might be losing their home. This is not what we want in a movie where we are going to spend a long time basically torturing these 2 individuals. They need to be bad guys who come close to killing Kevin in the original film. This is the only way that type of slapstick is funny.
The other problem is everything is too easy for Max. In the original Kevin struggles both with his traps (which he almost gets caught several times and eventually has to be saved by the old man) and with being alone. He is scared of the furnace and steals the toothbrush because he is afraid of the store manager. This helps us become endeared to Kevin and we feel for him when he starts to miss his family.
In Home Sweet Home Alone, Archie faces none of that. Most of the traps are too elaborate for him to set up- like one where he would have to move an entire trampoline all by himself. You could make that claim about the original but most of the traps were pretty simple like ornaments and nails that a kid could orchestrate. Even when he puts his plan on the chalkboard wall he would need a giant ladder in order to draw all that. In the original it’s drawn on a piece of paper like a normal kid would do.
Some kids may have fun with Home Sweet Home Alone but in this critics opinion they missed the mark. Missed it as far as tone, laughs and especially family heart.
3 out of 10