The reboot nobody asked for is just as bad as you’d expect.
Here’s the setup of “Home Sweet Home Alone.” A fat English kid living in America begs to use the bathroom in an open house, because he’s had one too many soda refills, and the couple trying to sell the house think he’s stolen the one valuable doll that could solve their financial problems. His family goes off to Tokyo for Christmas vacation, and accidentally leave him at home alone. So, this would be the perfect time for the couple to try to steal that doll back, and the kid thinks they’re trying to kidnap him, because the doll is ugly, and he thinks they’re describing him. That’s when he sets off booby traps for them and for the kids to laugh at.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Yes, because “Home Sweet Home Alone” is mostly a reboot and a little bit of a sequel to the ever popular “Home Alone” hit from the early 90s, back when Macaulay Culken was a child star. The only reason it’s a little bit of a sequel is because the new home security systems are owned by the McCallisters, and Kevin’s older brother Buzz (Devin Ratray) grows up to become a cop.
Anyway, this movie is as much fun as kids screaming in your ear at a Chuck E. Cheese. It’s as much fun as seeing Jamie Kennedy trying to take over for Jim Carrey in “Son of the Mask.” And it’s as much fun as Dan Aykroyd pressuring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis for cutting back on Christmas in “Christmas with the Kranks.” This is a complete nightmare.
Archie Yates, who was wonderful in “Jojo Rabbit” is miscast as the kid Max, who always argues with his hurried mother (Aisling Bea) about his cousins arriving for the holidays.
Ellie Kemper, whom I told was delightful on “The Office,” and Rob Delaney, who was funny in “Deadpool 2,” are also delirious as the cash-strapped couple, who aren’t prepared to tell their kids they have to sell the house soon, which is why they have the real estate agent (Kenan Thompson) pose as Dad’s personal trainer. When they realize the valuable doll may be in that kid’s possession, they have to steal it back. And so we get such dismal scenes as them getting covered in baking goods and soda, and injured by fire, pins, and Legos, and so forth. They aren’t the criminals the ads made them appear to be; they’re just “Horrible Bosses” knuckleheads, but degrading ones, minus the would-be murder plot.
“Home Sweet Home Alone” was directed by Dan Mazer, who made my choice of the worst film of 2016 “Dirty Grandpa.” We should be grateful he used up all his pervert ideas on that trip to Hell and back. It’s yet another woeful attempt to cater to the new era when reboots and remakes are what Disney is into, considering the fact that they bought Fox, and left us with that lame name 20th Century Studios. This one lacks the heart and inspiration of the original or any empathy for anyone.
The better child actor to see this week is Jude Hill in Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast,” which introduced us to what an exceptional young man he is with how he goes through life during the 60s riots. Yates, however, doesn’t ease us into any sympathy for his character, who eats junk food for breakfast when he’s home alone, and jump to too many conclusions about his current situation. He went from a lovable “Jojo Rabbit” supporting character to a fat movie kid.
And it’s no fun to see Kemper and Delaney get humiliated in the process. I know Kemper has a son, so she obviously had to enter this project just to entertain him, but she can do better than succumb to getting hurt and dumped on. And Delaney had much better family movie roles in “Ron’s Gone Wrong” and “Tom & Jerry” than he did in this.
What more is there to say? This movie is like a bad piece of fruit cake or or sour egg nog, and I eat either of those things. And if anyone like this lump of coal, then I’ll be as appalled as Gene Sickle was when he found out Roger Ebert liked “Home Alone 3” “better than the first two.”
☠️ Poison for the Mind (0/4)
Streaming on Disney+ Tomorrow