18th Nov2021

‘Home Sweet Home Alone’ Review (Disney+)

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Ellie Kemper, Rob Delaney, Archie Yates, Aisling Bea, Devin Ratray, Kenan Thompson, Timothy Simons, Ally Maki, Pete Holmes, Chris Parnell | Written by Mikey Day, Streeter Seidell | Directed by Dan Mazer

With the introduction of Disney+ and therefore the need for new shows and movies it is no surprise at all that the most well known of Christmas movies got a sequel on the streaming platform. The original Home Alone (and that first sequel) is one of my favourite movies ever and any modern day sequel was going to have a tough time being anywhere near as good as the first two films. That said, with a talented cast, I was looking forward to seeing how Home Sweet Home Alone turned out.

Apart from a child being left home alone, the story is changed up a little bit. This time, the crooks aren’t really crooks but a married couple that are trying to steal back a valuable doll from a kid (who now happens to be home alone) who stole it from them. It’s a decent enough twist from the original that doesn’t change things up too much.

As much as I don’t want to keep mentioning that original film, this movie is well aware it is a sequel and mentions the first film almost as much as I have! But the nods to that original are really well done for the most part. We get a cameo from Devin Ratray as (Police Officer) Buzz McAllister; McAllister is also the name of the home security company. And once the house is broken into and the stunts start happening, there’s so many nods back to the original you’ll lose count. While some moments are almost carbon copies, these do put smiles on faces of fans of the original, rather than sighs that this has all been done before. Moments like Ellie Kemper (as the wife) skidding around on ice with the same moves as Daniel Stern’s Marv or Rob Delaney (as the husband) pushing his finger into a pin as painfully looking as Marv does in his foot in the original.

But Home Sweet Home Alone has plenty of great stunts of its own. Lego is used expertly and there’s several very painful-looking falls down the stairs. The swimming pool scene is surprisingly funny, although not as harsh as most of the booby traps. It’s surprisingly brutal at times.

The main cast all put in good performances. Kemper and Delaney as the married couple have good chemistry and once they start planning to break into the house, every scene with them is great. They’re both pretty likeable in all their roles and here is no different. There was plenty of talk about Aisling Bea’s accent when the trailer was released but it didn’t bother me one bit and she was really good as the mother of Max (the home alone kid). Once again with some acting that was clearly heavily influenced by the original. Archie Yates as Max is entertaining but I did find the character pretty annoying. Maybe it’s because I’m an adult now and There’s no nostalgia attached here but he just seemed like he was annoyed at his family for little reason – Kevin had plenty of reasons to want to be home alone! That said, I’m sure kids would side with Max and I guess that’s what matters.

The second half of the movie is definitely stronger than the first and you do feel a bit like you’re just waiting for all the fun to start. With the build-up feeling a little rushed even if the ninety minute runtime does fly by.

Another important part of the film to mention is how Christmassy it feels and in that aspect, Home Sweet Home Alone is great. The whole thing is covered in a blanket of snow, the music is great, the decorations, tress and jumpers are all perfect. This is a very Christmassy Christmas movie.

It was never gonna be easy but Home Sweet Home Alone manages to entertain fans of the original and be a whole new fun Christmas comedy for younger viewers.

*** 3/5

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