TBT Review – Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House (2002)

films, reviews, TBT

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I know that there is a lot of debate at this time of year about what the best Christmas film is. Something that will keep happening until everyone just accepts that it’s The Muppet Christmas Carol. Many people may mistakenly believe that Home Alone is superior. Some may even believe that its sequel is the best. While both films are great in their own right, they’re just not the greatest. A lot of what makes the films good is down to Macaulay Culkin. So, it was very upsetting for me to learn that there is a fourth film in the franchise that sees Kevin McCallister played by some other kid. Yes, I knew about the disappointing 3rd film but another sequel that tried to recapture the magic of the first two? I had to see what this was about.

As tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I still have a lot of wrapping to do, this will be my last blog post before Christmas. I wish it had been something more worthwhile but, instead, I’m here talking about the fourth movie in the Home Alone franchise. A film that sees the return of the McCallister family after the third films standalone plot. Although, it’s been a while and the original cast are nowhere to be seen. Nobody looks the same and the ages are incredibly inaccurate. I mean, in the first film Buzz is a giant but now he’s barely a teenager.

I never expected this film to be good but I at least thought it would be one of those “so bad it’s funny” films. It’s not. It’s just sad. What it does tell us is that not all child actors are created equal. Now, I admit that this kid wasn’t exactly working with an A+ script but that can’t be the only excuse for his awful performance. It’s just bad and gives me a greater appreciation for Macaulay Culkin. That guy was a talented little kid. Of course, it doesn’t help that the fourth film completely changes Kevin’s personality. There is very little besides the name that links this character to the one we’ve seen before.

Same with the rest of the characters. Kevin’s parents and siblings are all back for more as is Marv, one half of the duo that he terrorised before. Although this time Marv has a different face. He also can’t make up his mind if he’s more Marv, Harry or someone completely different. It’s difficult to see why this film was made at all but you really have to wonder why they brought back Marv of all people. It just doesn’t work. Especially as French Stewart doesn’t really have the skill to play someone who seems like a real human being. This version of Marv is definitely a reject from 3rd Rock from the Sun.

The lack of familiarity is no doubt why the film relies so much on callbacks and in-jokes. Although, jokes is perhaps the wrong word to use as this really isn’t funny. It’s also not as clever as the first films. Hell, even the third film seems like an Oscar winner in comparison to this. Kevin doesn’t use his cunning to prevent Marv from entering the house. He just runs away a lot. It’s such a pointless story and there are so many plot holes. Now, I admit the first two weren’t exactly watertight and they required a huge suspension of disbelief. This film has so many holes that you could strain pasta through it. It’s a disaster.

So, it’s not a great way to finish blogging before Christmas. I wish I’d just watched The Muppet Christmas Carol again. At least I’d feel better.

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