A lot of people have been pissed with the way things were left off in the Home Alone franchise, especially because of the other three movies that were added to the series. With this 2021 Disney+ addition, there are now six movies in the franchise. The first five films were released under 20th Century Fox. The rights to the Home Alone franchise have since belonged to Disney, following Disney’s 2019 acquisition of 21st Century Fox. Home Sweet Home was directed by Dan Mazer (Borat, The Dictator). The movie is set in Alabama just like the first two in the franchise, which is befitting for a McCallister surprise cameo.
The opening scene of the movie is set in the McKenzie home; after a brief conversation it is established that the McKenzie couple, played by Rob Delaney and Ellie Kemper, is trying to sell their home after the family started facing hard times, as a result of the husband’s job loss as a data migration manager to the “clouds”, and the wife’s income not being enough to sustain the family. 10-year-old Max Mercer (Archie Yates) and his mother, Carol Mercer (Aisling Bea) take a detour to the McKenzie home for Max to take a leak. During this time, Carol reveals that the set of dolls Jeff Mckenzie inherited from his mother is worth more than he might have thought or heard. Due to the wrong foot they had gotten off after Jeff refused to give Max a can of drink, Max leaves the house satisfied after taking an object strong enough to quench his justice and vengeance craving. The rest of the movie is Jeff and Pam’s many attempts to keep their house by getting their prized doll back from Max.
With a character watching Home Alone 1; characters critiquing the culture and rave of remaking classics that is now pervading the movie industry (most of the movies remade or made as sequel always leave a sour taste in the mouth; and by littering ‘McCallister’ all over the movie such as the ironic McCallister security system and the cop who happens to be Kevin McCallister’s brother, the director Dan Mazer and writers Mikey Day and Streeter Seidell have managed to show that they’re aware of the growing culture of awful remakes and awry sequels which the Home Alone franchise is also guilty of. In showing their awareness, they have successfully set a bar for themselves and the question now remains whether they can scale the bar or not.
Story-wise and plot-wise, they have done much better than other sequels (Home Alone 3, 4 and 5), giving the audience antiheroes they care about in the characters of the couple trying to save their home, but they meet Max the menace. The pranks and laughs are not as extended as they were in the first two installments, probably because something about a couple battling with the imminent loss of their house is unfunny. The audience is left trying to save the home with the couple while also trying to have some laughs, maybe not so many laughs; then add their failure at their plans to the list. Anyway, what’s Home Alone without the pranks, most of which were very violent, Home Sweet Home delivers on this.
Sadly, showing the audience their awareness of the problems with remakes and tard sequels only takes the power to criticize the movie based on its relation to the classics. It should be noted there is not much to laugh about in this comedy movie, and for understandable reasons, it can be allowed. Perhaps, if the drama on the parts of the adults was dulled, maybe the audience might manage more laughs.
The husband losing his job because of the advent of the digital era is similar to Ned’s (Bryan Cranston) failure to come to terms with the times in Why Him? (2016). Eventually, the two similar characters come to terms with the times. Home Sweet Home Alone is able to emphasize the themes of family and home in the same strength as the originals. Although Home Sweet Home Alone does not qualify to stand in ranks with the first two, it would have been the perfect fit as the third movie in the franchise.
Share your thoughts in the comments section or on our social media accounts.
- For a movie that is children-themed, it is very violent.
- The director and writers are very clever for trying to counter the points that would be raised against the movie before they were raised. Quite self-referential—meta!
- I think we are done with the era of pranks, we should move on.
- Keep an eye out for our Home Alone retro review later this month.
Home Sweet Home Alone is available on Disney+.