Director: Dan Mazer
Starring: Archie Yates, Ellie Kemper, Rob Delaney, Timothy Simons, Ally Maki, Aisling Bea and Kenan Thompson
Run time: 1h 33min
Ho ho Home Sweet Home Alone is the sixth, yes sixth, addition to the beloved Christmas movie franchise. Whilst the first two made a star of Macaulay Culkin and are a staple of Yuletide viewing, the others disappeared from memory faster than snow on a January day in England. After a break of almost a decade, Home Sweet Home Alone arrives on Disney+ with JoJo Rabbit’s Archie Yates taking centre stage.
Although the circumstances have been altered slightly, the set-up remains virtually the same. Young Max Mercer (Yates) is left home alone by his parents as they head off to Japan for the holidays. At first he revels in his independence until, through a convenient set of misunderstandings, Max thinks he has been targeted by kidnappers Pam (Ellie Kemper) and Jeff (Rob Delaney) Fritzovski. As they attempt to enter his house, Max must defend his property by creating elaborate booby-traps to thwart the thieves.
A quip from one of the many forgettable secondary characters about remaking classics and how they’re “never as good as the original” only highlights the pointlessness of this remake. The slapstick is thoroughly uninspired with most of it being lifted directly from the first two films. Kemper and Delaney give it their all, but if it’s painful for them, it’s even more painful for the viewer. At one point, Pam’s feet are on fire. Rather than burying them in the gigantic snow drifts that are literally either side of her, she searches for a tap to use instead. A virtual reality gag stretches the realms of believability to ludicrous proportions (yes, I’m aware the whole premise is nonsense) and the ending feels so forced you can almost hear the crushing sighs of regret from the actors involved.
Archie Yates is likeable enough, but doesn’t quite have the same charisma as Macauley Culkin and he’s not helped by having a mother (Aisling Bea) whose frosty personality is as cold as the Winter weather itself. Indeed, the entire family are a rather obnoxious bunch so the message about love and being together at Christmas falls completely flat.
Home Sweet Home Alone will possibly entertain the younger kids for 90 minutes (well, there’s a fart gag), but anyone over the age of 10, or those who have seen the original, will wish Home Alone had been left well alone.
Home Sweet Home Alone streams on Disney+ from 12th November