“I don’t know why they are always trying to remake the classics…”
HOME SWEET HOME ALONE (2021)
Home Sweet Home Alone, the newest film entry to the Home Alone Cinematic Universe (HACU as I like to call it), attempts to capture the hilarity, heart, and hijinks of the original film. Sadly, like the gigantic welt on Rob Delaney’s forehead...it's a big goose egg. While a lot of the jokes are actually rather hilarious, most seem to fall flat in this loosely put together plot that had actually some big potential.
Director Dan Mazer, who is mostly known for his writing collaborations with Sasha Baron Cohen on iconic characters like Borat, Ali G, and Brüno, crafts a rather standard Christmas comedy. Being a big fan of the season, I did enjoy taking in the holiday vibes the film gave off. I thought the directing of the physical comedy was really funny in some parts, but took a billiard ball straight to the face with the rest. I wasn’t planning on walking away with any inspiring imagery from the film that would cement Mazer’s directing as ‘great’; he did the bare minimum, and I was fine with that.
Max Mercer, a sassy and mischievous young boy, is left behind while his family rushes to the airport for a holiday trip to Japan. While left behind at ‘home alone’, a down-on-their-luck married couple attempt to break into the Mercer’s home in order to retrieve a priceless doll that was stolen from their own home.
At this point, you can guess what happens: traps, injuries, and lots of funny faces.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
The biggest downside to this film for me was the characters. What I love so much about the original film is how much you cheer for the bad guys to get really messed up and hurt. It’s really cathartic to see Joe Pesci scream his head off. However, in this film, the most unlikable character ends up being Max, our protagonist. Though I adore Archie Yates, his character was set up as extremely annoying and rude, which contrasted the very likeable Rob Delaney and Ellie Kemper. I honestly felt so bad for Rob Delaney’s character the entire film and wished that the kid would just listen to him and stop throwing bags of sugar at his crotch.
The dialogue was rather inconsistent, but several of the jokes had me laughing out loud pretty hard. Pete Holmes and Rob Delaney in particular are super funny.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
The production is mostly standard for a streaming movie, but the VFX in the third act did bother me. They were not very well rendered and stood out like a thumbtack pinned to the end of a NERF dart. There were many points where I could clearly see that Delaney’s and Kemper’s faces were digitally added to the bodies of stunt performers doing a barrel roll down a flight of stairs, and that took me out of the viewing experience.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The music will give you all the holiday vibes you are craving. They actually go as far and sample a few pieces of original music and soundtrack music from the original film, and that made me very happy.
All in all, this is a typical modern day reboot/sequel that finds it hard to justify its existence. Though some of the jokes and pratfalls were lame, the performances were enjoyable and I can definitely see kids 12 and younger laughing their heads off at grown adults falling on Legos. For anyone else who may have grown-up watching the original film, you may find it tedious and a little too goofy for your liking. But I promise that you will find reasons to stay and watch this 90-minute flick, such as the relatable adult humor and surprise cameos and references of the original film.
HOME SWEET HOME ALONE IS NOW STREAMING ON DISNEY+