I know that a lot of people out there will say that the original Home Alone film is a timeless classic and that it could never be topped. These people will say that the most recent film in the Home Alone franchise is ruining their childhood and that its very existence is an absolute travesty. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the first Home Alone film but I wasn’t outraged that Disney was attempting to cash in on the premise again. Especially as it was going to star Archie Yates who was an absolute delight in Jojo Rabbit. He seemed like the perfect choice to take over the Macaulay Culkin role. I also think there was a lot of potential to update the story for 2021.
Of course, I was interested to see how they would manufacture a situation in which a family can leave their child home alone in 2021. I mean, aren’t we always hearing Boomers complaining that kids spend too much time on their phones? There are so many ways for children to contact their parents these days that the whole problem would be sorted out in no time. So, how is it explained in Home Sweet Home Alone? The family don’t have a landline and Max is the only child without any means to contact anyone.
Although, I will admit that the concept was never really that realistic and it’s not as if the new film is bad because it’s not believable. No, it’s bad because of the writing. The story is similar to the original but, for whatever reason, they’ve decided to make Max a massive dickhead. The thing with the first one is that Kevin, though annoying, was adorable enough to make you care. Max is just irritating. Add to that the fact that the supposed villains are way more relatable and sympathetic. I just don’t know who the writers think we’re meant to be rooting for. It just makes you question why you’re even watching it in the first place.
The trouble all starts when Max and his mum stop off at an open house to use the bathroom. The owners, Pam and Jim, are having to sell the house because of money troubles. While there, Max discovers a box of dolls that belonged to Jim’s mother. One of them turns out to be pretty valuable but it ends up going missing. Jim immediately suspects Max has taken it and decides to track him down. Unfortunately, Max and his family are flying to Tokyo for Christmas. To get the doll back, Jim decides to break in. Of course, Max has been left behind without anyone realising and hilarity ensues.
Although, hilarity doesn’t really ensue, which is a shock considering how great the cast is. There was definite potential here but this just seems lazy. The jokes aren’t well crafted and it somehow manages to seem really outdated. I’d go so far as to say that Home Sweet Home Alone spends more time on product placement than it does on trying to make people laugh. It’s just a joyless and soulless affair. It manages to take the comic relief from Jojo Rabbit and turn him into a forgettable kid. A kid who isn’t even very inventive when it comes to protecting himself from robbers. Kevin McCallister had a great skill for torturing bad guys. Max has some coke.
So, Home Sweet Home Alone isn’t a good film but it’s not bad because it’s a sequel/remake. It’s a bad film because nobody seemed to try very hard. The script is just trying to hit all the right points and get to the end. It’s hard to believe that anybody really cared about this film. Hell, even Aisling Bea didn’t care enough to do a decent English accent. I know she’s received a lot of flack for not using her Irish accent but that’s not the issue. The issue is that her English accent sounds dreadful. Adding the word “darling” to the end of every sentence isn’t enough. That’s the Gwyneth Paltrow method.