Have I gone out of my way to watch every single original movie that has streamed on Disney+? Not really, since most of them don’t look too good. But I honestly dreaded the thought of watching Home Sweet Home Alone for how much the original means so much to me. The original Home Alone still stands as one of my favorite Christmas movies that’s always a welcome watch around the holidays where the Chris Columbus-directed/ John Huges-written film is gloriously entertaining. Like, you have to be out of your mind if you don’t like it. After that, I’ve only seen two of the franchise’s sequels, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York and Home Alone 3, which doesn’t even hold a candle to the first. The sequel’s okay, but the third is awful; I don’t care what anyone says. Since it seems like Disney is really going ahead in rebooting Fox movies, how about we not?
What’s the Story: Ten-year-old Max Mercer (Archie Yates) is left home alone in his house while the rest of his extended family is taking a holiday vacation to Tokyo. For him, it’s basically a dream come true since no loud relatives are staying in his home, and he gets to do whatever he wants. However, Pam and Jeff Fritzovski (Ellie Kemper, Rob Delaney) are about to lose their house and realize an antique doll worth a ton of money: $200,000. They believe Max stole it after going into their open house, so the only way to get it back is to break into Max’s home to take back what’s there; he’s willing to do whatever it takes to protect his home.
Hearing this sixth installment or reboot was happening didn’t excite my bones because I thought we were already done with these Home Alone sequels since nothing will ever touch the original. And yes, two other sequels were pretty much TV movies I refuse ever to watch. That being said, I went in with an open mind and gave it a chance. And this is something one would stumble on Disney Channel. It is THAT bad. This series has been done repeatedly where it doesn’t provide anything new we haven’t already seen. Maybe since little kids haven’t seen the older movies, this was a way for SNL writer’s Mikey Day and Streeter Seidell. In a way, this was planned to put a spin on the formula. At one point, Timothy Simons literally says, “I don’t know why they are always trying to remake the classics,” as they’re watching a sci-fi version of “Angels With Filthy Soul.” Anytime someone says that in a remake or reboot that’s already bad, they’re doing it too. That charm that was found in the original is unseen. The moment when Max realizes his family forgot about him was quick when it didn’t even take him, like, five minutes.
Probably one of the reasons I think this could’ve worked was the casting of Archie Yates. As someone who loves Jojo Rabbit (Seriously, it’s truly amazing), Yates was hilarious in the Oscar-winning film where I couldn’t wait to see what Hollywood has for him next. For him to be this new character in the same vein as the lovable, mischievous Kevin MacCallister sound solid enough was enough to sell me. Honestly, it’s not his fault for not having good material to work with here. There’s not much about him that makes him cool. All I could think about the whole time was how much Max was obnoxious. I think we are to believe the main characters are Kemper and Delaney. Why? I’ll admit these are the best villains in the series since Marv and Harry, but this is a married couple I didn’t care too much about and their situation. The fact these two were never criminals is actually different—just the thought of them wanting to sneak into the house is stupid once you think about it when Delany’s character could’ve asked Max for the doll if he has it. Of course, then this wouldn’t be a classic Home Alone movie with the bad guys almost getting killed. But what was I expecting when director Dan Mazer is responsible for the horrible Dirty Grandpa.
With Max being the main character, it was disappointing to think there’s more attention on the adults than him, where his screen time seems limited. None of the characters are likable or important to care about to provide any emotional throughline. That’s to add to the fact there’s isn’t that much to care about Max to understand what he’s going through. And there are so many people in here best known for their comedic chops once in a while and most of them don’t have anything to do. Kenan Thompson, Chris Parnell, and Pete Holmes. And Pete Holmes is a funny guy and he’s the one character I was hoping would give me those few chuckles, but it never happened.
And boy, I was dead silent when not a single joke made me laugh once. These jokes were too mean-spirited at some points, especially this one O.J. Simpson referenced kids will obviously get when he got arrested the second time. There’s also a landline joke because it’s not 1993, of course. But once we get to the traditional hit of the burglars trying to get into the house with Max setting up a bunch of booby traps, not once did I enjoy them. Maybe it was because this doesn’t view Kemper and Delaney as entirely terrible people, and it’s strange watching them get hurt. Weirdly enough, these are even more dangerous where I can believe any person could get killed by fire or dropping icicles. And the only way this connects to the others is having Devin Ratray reprising his role as Buzz, who’s now a police officer, by that’s not enough.
This comes to show popular IPs will get this treatment, whether we want it or not, and this also applies to touching anything John Hughes ever wrote or directed. Nobody should be allowed to retouch anything he’s done since it always ends up forgotten or just plain terrible. Kids probably won’t have an issue watching this, but I trust no one who thinks this is better than the first two. It always makes me angry when there’s a bad Christmas movie when this won’t be joining the ranks of the movies I’ll be rewatching when it hits December. You’re better off watching the first movie, which I will be watching twice next month because it’s great. And if I had a kid, you better believe I’m showing them how much that was a classic.
Unsurprisingly, Home Sweet Home Alone is one miserable sequel that shouldn’t have come into existence. Failing to bring a new audience to this franchise with its nostalgia factor, it’s so unfunny, perfectly wasting good comedic actors in the process. Just the trailer alone, this was already made out to be one of the worst movies of 2021. The bottom line is this: Don’t touch anything John Hughes creates.