Review by Sean Boelman
It was clear that the obvious consequence of the Disney/Fox merger would be that Disney would end up rebooting some of the most popular Fox legacy properties, and Home Sweet Home Alone is one of the most shameless cash grabs yet. However, despite the fact that this is very much an attempt to milk nostalgia, it works surprisingly well for what it is.
Much like the original film, this follows a young kid who is accidentally left alone when his family travels overseas for the holidays, as he fights back against a duo of “bandits” breaking into his home. Except this time, the villains aren’t truly bandits, but rather, a married couple looking to steal back what was already taken from them.
However, even though this may seem like a simple change of having the antagonists be more likable characters, it has an unexpected effect on the audience. Instead of rooting for the Kevin McCallister stand-in to win, we’re pretty much just along for the ride to watch some goofy hijinks, which is arguably less mean-spirited and dangerous.
The first half of the movie, which follows the married couple trying to find a way to sneak into the protagonist’s house, is entertaining enough, even if it is filled with mostly cheap gags. It is the second half that audiences will be tuning in for, as it features the elaborate traps which are what made this series so entertaining in the first place.
The creativity of these traps isn’t quite up to par as one would hope, but it’s still interesting to see the blend of new and old. Some of them are things that feel like stuff kids today would think of, and others are more reminiscent of the classic Home Alone traps. And they make for some fun physical comedy sequences.
There is definitely something to be said in the film about understanding one another, as the whole conflict results from a case of people assuming the worst of the opposite party. But ultimately, any positive message that the movie could theoretically have is overshadowed by the aggressive level of slapstick violence.
Although young actor Archie Yates showed that he was extremely talented in his debut role as the sidekick in Jojo Rabbit, his performance doesn’t do much here. But the adult stars, Ellie Kemper and Rob Delaney, are no Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, although they have strong enough comedic chemistry to carry the film.
Home Sweet Home Alone isn’t going to become a holiday classic for the ages like the movie of which it is a reboot, but it’s jolly enough family fun. It’s a relatively painless ninety-ish minute watch.
Home Sweet Home Alone hits Disney+ on November 12.