Review by Aaron M. Crilly
This passed November, Disney+ saw the release of “Home Sweet Home Alone” the fifth entry in the Home Alone franchise and the first one to be released since the Disney/Fox Merger back in 2019.
The film follows the basic plot of all the previous Home Alone films: a kid has a fight with their parents the night before a big family holiday, gets accidently left behind due the chaos that usually comes with the dash to the airport, then gets the whole house to themselves enjoying their alone time and the freedom that comes with such a situation until they come face to face with a group of burglars resulting in them having to defend the house from the burglars (without using their Second Amendment Rights) through a series of comical traps that would make The Three Stooges proud.
That is where the problem with this film lies; it’s largely a copy and paste of the original, with only the minor changes to at least give this film some identity of it’s own. The other films in the series are guilty of this, even the writer of the first three films, the late great John Hughes admitted so, but still this film should have known better and should have had the strength to try something new for the series.
The cast of the film include Archie Yeates (JoJo Rabbit) as the main character Max,, Aisling Bea (This Way Up) as Max’s Mother, Kenan Thompson (Kenan and Kel, SNL) as a crooked Estate Agent and Rob Delaney (Deadpool 2) as one of the burglars of the film: a talented group of people who I’ve always admired for their previous projects. They are also the stellar-in-theory cast who I am sad to report, fail to give their best in this film. Normally these are actors who are known and respected for their work in comedy, but in this project fail to make me laugh even once. But I don’t blame them, I blame the poor direction and writing that they were forced to work with; if I was them I would demand an apology from my agents for signing me up to this film.
Over on the technical side of this film, I must say that the direction has none of the visual wonder that was shown in the first two films. The film’s director Dan Mazer (who is surprisingly the co-writer behind Borat and Bruno) is unimaginative and emotionless in his direction, he shoots the film in a manner which reminds me of a bottom tier Hallmark Holiday film and I honestly don’t know what’s duller: the colour plate of the film or his direction.
The main culprits behind this wreck of a film, however, are writers Mikey Day and Street Seidell (both are members on the writing staff on SNL). Writing their first film together, you can tell by how bad the writing is; hell I wouldn’t be surprised if after writing their rough draft they got busy and ran out of time writing a proper draft, so instead submitted the rough draft and, even though these two writers are currently working on one of the most funniest programs in American history, not one of the “jokes” they’ve written for this film made me laugh or even chuckle. Instead, it made me cringe! But I will give them this, I do like the way they handled the burglars for this film by painting them in a much more sympathetic light than their predecessors, and even giving them their own arc; but even so it could have been resolved a lot better.
This film gives bad sequels a bad name; once the film was over, I did what I’ve rarely done before with a film…I turned to the person who I talked into watching it with me and apologised, that’s how bad it was.