Monday, November 29, 2021

Home Sweet Home Alone (2021)


Streaming Service: Disney+
Movie Name/Year: Home Sweet Home Alone (2021)
Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama
Length: 93 minutes
Rating: PG
Production/Distribution: 20th Century Studios, Hutch Parker Entertainment, Disney+
Director: Dan Mazer
Writers: Mikey Day, John Hughes, Streeter Seidell
Actors: Aisling Bea, Ally Maki, Archie Yates, Ellie Kemper, Katie Beth Hall, Kenan Thompson, Max Ivutin, Pete Holmes, Rob Delaney, Timothy Simons, Devin Ratray, Catherine Cohen, Jayne Eastwood, Cara Ricketts, Tristan D. Lalla, Jordan Carlos, William S. Taylor, Jimmy Caspeur, Nick Allan, Eddie G.
IMDb Blurb: A married couple tries to steal back a valuable heirloom from a troublesome kid.

Cat’s Point of View:
I must admit, I have been fairly chomping at the bit to experience what holiday mayhem Home Sweet Home Alone would have in store for audiences. I rounded up the whole family and we all settled in for the shenanigans. I think they had just as much fun watching my reactions as they did watching the movie. I digress.
Home Sweet Home Alone landed at #17 on my Top 20 Movies to Look Out For in November 2021 list, winning its spot over another Home Alone (1990) remake featuring dogs. (I’m not kidding. That was released this month, too.) I was intrigued by the twists incorporated into this continuation of the original 2 movies that started it all.

I feel I need to be transparent here and come clean that I have not watched any of the other Home Alone sequels 3-5. At least, I’m pretty sure I haven’t. I really haven’t been interested until now. Home Sweet Home Alone is the 6th installment to this holiday franchise.  Devin Ratray’s (Chicago Med, The Tick, Hustlers) cameo reprising his character Buzz, as well as all the other little nods to the original film were part of what sold me on this sequel. I was definitely satisfied with all the little homages sprinkled through. Each gave me a little giggle.
Archie Yates (Jojo Rabbit, Wolfboy sand the Everything Factory, Amphibia) had captivated my attention in the trailers and did not let me down in the movie. I adored his cheeky humor in the banter with his mother and how over-it he was with his chaotic invading relatives. He reminded me a little bit of the character Ralphie in A Christmas Story (1983) at some points. The production’s use of sharing memories and the main character, Max’s, imagined scenarios really drove home that nostalgia, as well.

I spent a good chunk of Home Sweet Home Alone conflicted, however. I found myself in the odd position of not wanting to root for the kid for a little bit – and thereby more horrified than amused at his clever and dangerous booby traps. I think that may have been a bit of a brilliant decision on the part of this production team, however.
Home Sweet Home Alone flips the story sideways a bit. The burglars weren’t professionals and they were trying to recover something. The story put the moral dilemma of their situation in full spotlight. I found myself rooting for the couple in a few places. Elle Kemper (The Office, The Secret Life of Pets, The Stand In) and Rob Delaney (Deadpool 2, The Hustle, Bombshell) were amazing in their roles. The story of this film was actually just as much theirs as the boy alone at home – if not more so.

I also appreciated the common thread between the two families regarding entitled and thoughtless relatives. The familes on each respective side were well fleshed out so that they didn’t come off as afterthoughts or window-dressing to the rest of what was going on. They were part of the driving force behind the action, and I felt participated in the story more here than in the first two movies.
Without giving spoilers, I can at least assure you that I found the ending satisfying. There were even twists that I should have seen coming but didn’t.

Critics are ripping Home Sweet Home Alone a new one, but I think (as usual) they’re missing the point. The audience scores I’m seeing, unfortunately, echo the pros. Home Sweet Home Alone does exist in a space where it doesn’t have to. The tale has been told so many times, and most of the retellings pale against the original. This sequel was decidedly not better than the original. It did, however, stand-alone on its unique twists. Home Sweet Home Alone is a quirky love letter to the McCallister family that started it all. It didn’t feel like the soulless cash-grab some are making it out to be. Further, it didn’t come across as an attempt to restart the franchise under the Disney helm, either.
If you have access to Disney+ this holiday season, Home Sweet Home Alone is actually a sequel worth catching. At the very least, give it a chance and see for yourself.
(It probably goes without saying, but I feel it bears repeating that the trap stunts within Home Sweet Home Alone could be lethal or cause serious injuries if people did them without movie magic that works on cartoon logic and physics – so don’t try these at home!)

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 18%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 13%
Metascore –35%
Metacritic User Score – 1.6/10
IMDB Score – 3.5/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3.5/5
Movie Trailer:

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