Home Sweet Home Alone is what you would get if you were to order Home Alone (1990) from Wish… A bland, humorless uninspiring rip-off which resembles nothing from the original product. I think it is safe to say that the Home Alone franchise is dead and buried after numerous unsuccessful sequels with each iteration defecating on the original classics. It’s best if we now leave this franchise alone.
Archie Yates’s portrayal of Max Mercer is what we are accustomed to seeing from inexperienced child actors these days, flat and uninspiring. Archie Yates doesn’t embody sympathy and vulnerability of his character’s situation but rather comes off as dull and irritating. I would say the only thing that is different between Home Sweet Home Alone and Home Alone (1990) is that the focus is largely on the adult ‘bandits’, Jeff & Pam McKenzie portrayed by Rob Delayey and Ellie Kemper. We see the couple who are parents of two children facing the impending threat of losing their house as they are unable to afford their current living situation. These characters are relatable to the adult audience as we can all understand the struggles of adulthood, however as parents of two children these characters are just quite frankly… dumb. Their thought process of having to sneak into the Mercer household to reclaim their valuable doll just baffles me. If either of them had an ounce of common sense they would simply walk up to the door, knock and explain their situation and why they are there, saving 93 minutes of the audience’s time. All sympathy then goes out the window as the parents fall for the traps laid out by Max, especially a certain VR scene which Jeff falls for, it’s easy to see why this character is struggling in his professional career. It’s not only the stupidity of the characters that make Home Sweet Home Alone a disaster, it’s also the shoehorned cringe-worthy scene only designed to make the people of ages 10 and below to laugh. Now this would be expected as movies of this caliber are designed for this age group, but in the case of Home Sweet Home Alone it seems as if it is more targeted towards adults trying to feed off the nostalgia of the original two films in this franchise.
Home Sweet Home Alone offers little to nothing in terms of originality as the film is very quite clear that it is trying to replicate the story of the first film, a kid from a large rich family is left behind from their Christmas vacation and two ‘bandits’ attempt to break into the family home. The film itself fails to capitalise on the humor, Christmas spirit and tender moments that the original did so well in doing. Home Sweet Home Alone is overstuffed with call backs from the original film as there is a movie remake with dialogue from Angels With Filthy Souls being played in the background and we even see an appearance from Buzz McCallister himself who believe it or not is now a Police officer… yeah, you read that right, a Police officer!
There isn’t too much to say about this film’s technical quality. It is painfully mediocre in line with the production value of most straight-to-streaming films and comparing it to Home Alone (1990) is not a valuable metric considering it was never known to be great on a technical level. However, it is fair to say that despite the mediocre set-pieces in both films, Home Alone (1990) utilizes this in a clever way that supports the story, unlike this trash-heap. Surely then, the music could be the Christmas miracle to save this dreaded film? Short answer; no. You see, if you can filter out the half dozen Christmas carols pumped aggressively into this insulting film then you’ll be graciously reunited with the original Home Alone theme; albeit, very awkwardly shoved into moments that were clearly intended to make its audience let out a faint “awww…” of nostalgia and warm emotions. The reality is anything but that, as revisiting this theme only achieves the task of enraging you further by making you reminisce of better times.
It’s safe to say that Home Sweet Home Alone wouldn’t be my first pick nor my 100th when choosing a movie to capture the Christmas spirit. With this being the fourth failed attempt at capturing the spirit of the original two films I believe it may be best to move on from trying to make this franchise work.