“Home Sweet Home Alone” is Ultimately Sour



Mason Glod

Directed by Dan Mazer

Cast: Archie Yates, Ellie Kemper, Rob Delaney, and others.

Run Time: 93 minutes

Rating: 1/5

The original “Home Alone,” released in 1990, will forever be watched and remembered as a timeless Christmas classic. Unfortunately, “Home Sweet Home Alone” will not be.

“Home Sweet Home Alone” was released exclusively on Disney+ on November 12th as part of Disney+ day. Like the original movie, this film follows a young boy named Max (played by “Jojo Rabbit’s” Archie Yates) left home alone after his family forgets him on their Christmas vacation. As intruders try to break into his house, Max must defend it in inventive and creative ways.

However, unlike the original film, the home intruders in this movie are not burglars. Instead, they are a financially-troubled married couple, the McKenzies. They try to break into Max’s home to reclaim a valuable artifact. “Home Sweet Home Alone” is arguably more about this married couple (played by Ellie Kemper and Rob Delaney) than it is about the child. The movie spends large amounts of time ensuring the audience that this married couple are good people going through a bad time. So, when Max terrorizes them with his devious traps, it is hard to watch. The movie effectively builds sympathy for two lead characters and then has them continually tortured. The original “Home Alone” makes clear that the two home intruders are actual burglars, so it is satisfying to see Kevin foil them. This movie does the opposite, essentially ruining the whole premise.

Besides this glaring issue, the movie has extremely poor writing in general; the script is likely this film’s main weakness. Much of the dialogue is forced, awkward, and not funny. The movie was written by Mikey Day and Streeter Seidell, experienced writers and performers from “Saturday Night Live.” With that talent, it is surprising that the script turned out so weak.

The performances in the movie are incredibly hit-or-miss. Ellie Kemper, Timothy Simons, and Pete Holmes all make the most of the jokes and lines they were given. Simons specifically brings an energy and tone to the film that is desperately needed. Rob Delaney, as Jeff McKenzie, is fine and does his job, but he does not elevate the material. Archie Yates is also fine as the child protagonist but is nowhere near the greatness of Macaulay Culkin. Speaking of Culkin, the McCallister family is referenced multiple times. Devin Ratray even returns as Kevin’s brother Buzz, now a police officer in town. Ratray’s short scene is joyful and nostalgic, one of the best parts of the film. Perhaps a movie starring an adult McCallister would have been the better route for a reboot.

Overall, “Home Sweet Home Alone” fails to understand what makes “Home Alone” unique. While the new movie recreates classic scenes from the original, it feels like the creators are simply checking boxes. This movie ultimately lacks any heart the original film had. While a message and theme are presented by the film’s end, it is forced and ineffective. A new generation of Christmas would be better off watching the classic 1990 film.