'Home Sweet Home Alone' review: Disney hits new low with awful sequel
Courtesy of Disney+
At one point during Disney’s abysmal sequel, “Home Sweet Home Alone,” two characters are sitting on a couch watching a remake of the fictional “Angels with Filthy Souls” (you know the one Macaulay Culkin used to scare the pizza guy away: “Merry Christmas ya filthy animal!”) and someone chirps: “Why do they remake classics? They’ll never be as good as the original.” When I heard that, I took it as Disney is in on the joke and literally doesn’t care. For Disney, if it means sinking to a new low, they'll happily create either a sequel or remake from their IP vault of recently inherited Fox properties, no matter the quality, as long as it’ll keep subscribers watching. But I’m not sure anyone should watch “Home Sweet Home Alone,” but study it. Dissect and try to ascertain how every actor in this movie had to sell their soul for the paycheck. This is bottom of the barrel stuff and insults the 1990 classic and seems proud to do it? The tagline reads: “Classics were made to be broken.” Uh, okay Disney.
Not a remake but one of those legacies sequels where it takes place in the “Home Alone” universe, the adorable charm and likeability Culkin radiated is nowhere to be found and though Archie Yates (“Jojo Rabbit”) is a funny kid, he looks lost and confused. Yates plays Max who by some rideshare mixup gets abandoned at home while his family jets off to Tokyo. Meanwhile, a nearby family, the McKenzies (Ellie Kemper and Rob Delaney) suspect the 10-year old has stolen a priceless family heirloom they need to pay off their mortgage. Naturally, they plan a heist to sneak into the kids' fortified mansion on Christmas, but Max will be ready for them: Not today Satan!
Chaos inevitably ensues as people talk or behave like no rational human ever would (“Are you home alone?” someone basically says with a wink). SNL vet Mikey Day and Streeter Seidell’s screenplay fails to raise the stakes (or present any) as they cheaply exploit several iconic “Home Alone” booby trap with fake CGI renderings (I’m not kidding, a carton of milk was CGI; you’re telling me Disney couldn’t spring for practical effects?) None of the characters have an emotional arc and it’s clear the film is aimed at those who enjoy reminiscing and not an engaging narrative. Culkin was wise to stay from this debacle, though Devin Ratray’s Buzz McCallister stops by for an extended cameo, playing a police officer who thinks Max’s initial 911 call about burglars was a prank perpetrated by his younger brother: “He does this every year!”
Director Dan Mazer‘s staging of the climactic showdown lacks any sense of wonder or hilarity, like a bad episode of “America’s Funniest Homes Videos.” Max fills up Diet Cola with Mentos (ho, ho), he shoots an eight ball at a perps noggin (yippie!) and rigs the driveway to be extra slippery (gawrsh!). I’m not sure why children in this universe feel the need to destroy their home when you can sensibly yell for the neighbors or call someone. It’s Christmas eve, people should be around. In the end, it’s not only the McKenzies who end up getting hurt, but audiences inadvertently duped into watching this airless, basement level comedy.
You’ve been warned.
HOME SWEET HOME ALONE debuts on Disney+ Friday, November 12th.