‘Home Sweet Home Alone’: a movie worth skipping

Better left at home


Courtesy of Disney+

“Home Sweet Home Alone” is now streaming on Disney+.

Grant Soedler, Herald Reporter

“Home Sweet Home Alone” is the sixth entry in the “Home Alone” franchise, recently released on Disney Plus. The film stars Archie Yates, Ellie Kemper, Aisling Bea and Rob Delaney, and follows a direct sequel, a third unrelated film, and then two direct-to-TV follow-ups.

If you think a direct-to-streaming service sequel to an older nostalgic movie would not bode well for the quality of the product, you would be right. “Home Sweet Home Alone” lacks the heart of the original film and is yet another member of the line of uninspired cash-grabs hoping to mooch off its success.

“Home Sweet Home Alone” sports one of the most confusingly ridiculous plots of the entire franchise (yes, even more than the terrorists breaking into houses to find a computer chip in an RC car in the third installment).

In the latest version, Max Mercer, a young boy, attends an open house with his mom hosted by a couple (Jeff and Pam McKenzie) who are being forced to sell their house as they see no way to keep the payment on it with their current lifestyle.

Later, Max is left at home in a completely unrelated incident, and the couple attempts to break into his house to steal back a malformed doll that they believe he stole — the doll is worth enough money to pay off their house. Due to some convoluted eavesdropping, Max thinks Pam and Jeff are there to kidnap him and sell him to old ladies. Therefore, he gears up to take them down with a series of tricks and traps.

Adding to the poor quality is the fact that the movie often repeats beats from the original without putting any effort into making them stand out. For example, when Max gets left behind by his family in this movie, there’s no reason besides that “they forgot.”

In the original “Home Alone,” the film spent time showing how Kevin was left behind, such as the whole family oversleeping and rushing to get out the door and one of the siblings mistaking another kid for him in the headcount, whereas in this version Max falls asleep in the garage and the family just leaves him.

Add to this the inconsequential choir scenes at a church, Max knowing how to create elaborate traps with no explanation, him wishing his family would disappear and an irrelevant moral thrown in at the end, it is clear that the movie did not put much effort into differentiating itself from its predecessors.

The movie also completely lacks any true antagonists, instead making both sides sympathetic and choosing to revolve the “home invasion” plotline around a misunderstanding.

For most of the film, the couple are the true main characters, with Max occasionally getting focus as he quickly gets bored being at home by himself.

In fact, since Max is what is keeping the couple from saving their house, he mostly serves as the antagonist of the film, which makes it all the more jarring when after they are brutalized by his traps (Jeff getting a tooth knocked out and Pam being shot full of thumbtacks, among others) and the misunderstanding is finally resolved, the couple just…forgives him.

Then the two offer to let Max stay at their house while he waits for his parents to get back. It is super mean-spirited as it feels like the movie is punishing the wrong characters without any proper explanation.

The biggest crime of the movie may be that it is just not funny. Nearly all the jokes are lame and do not land, most of them consisting of a character doing or seeing something weird and then cutting to another character’s face as they react in a “quirky way.”

Not even the slapstick is entertaining, as it feels applied to the wrong characters and that is probably the best way to describe this movie: simply unentertaining. Even if you are a fan of the original “Home Alone,” you should probably skip this one. You will not be missing much.