“Home Sweet Home Alone” Fails to Capture the Magic of the Original


Photo courtesy of reelchicago.com

Background on the Film

Of all the new released movies of 2021, another Home Alone movie was not something I was necessarily desiring. In fact, I personally didn’t think there would ever be another Home Alone movie, a series which to me had two enjoyable movies, and then three that felt unnecessary.

However the more I heard about the film the more my interest grew. When I heard that the film would star “Jojo Rabbit’s” Archie Yates as the child left home alone, it definitely got my attention. Then about a week before the film’s release I saw the cast list and was surprised at how it actually consisted of quite a few actors I greatly enjoyed. From “Kimmy Schmidt’s” Ellie Kemper, to “Catastrophe” and “Deadpool 2’sRob Delaney, to “Saturday Night Live’s Keenan Thompson, to Pete Holmes, Chris Parnell, and Irish Comedian Aisling Bea who featured on British Comedy shows such as “QI” and “Taskmaster.” I actually had a great interest in this cast. However, upon watching the movie, I thought they felt wasted.



The film follows the same classic “Home Alone” formula, where a child, played by Yates, is left home alone as two robbers, played by Kemper and Delaney, try to break into the house. However this time around, the story does not focus on the child left alone. Instead, “Home Sweet Home Alone” takes the perspective of the robbers, the Mackenzies.

Pam and Jeff Mackenzie are currently trying to reluctantly sell their house as they cannot afford to keep it. However, they discover that Jeff has one of his mother’s old dolls worth $200,000. If they sell it they can keep their house, but they learn that the doll has been stolen. They believe that when Max Mercer, played by Yates, was in their house he stole the doll. As they keep trying to get the doll back, classic slapstick comedy ensues. Then, when they realize that Max is home alone they take care of him until his parents can come back from Tokyo, ending with both families becoming good friends. 



Overall the film is a mess and fails to capture what makes the first two “Home Alone” movies good. The first major flaw of the film is how it doesn’t really flesh out what makes Max happy to be left alone. We see Kevin get into huge arguments with his family in the first two movies where he states he never wants to see his family again, and then throughout the film we get to see Kevin growing to miss them, even the ones he thought he hated.

Max never goes through this process, he shows that he’s sad, that he feels ignored by his family, but there is never that blow up, it seems like he should be missing them dearly from the get go and not him celebrating being alone.

The second major flaw of the film is the robbers. While both Delaney and Kemper give very charming performances, the issue is that they are supposed to be charming. I feel sympathy for these characters unlike the Wet Bandits, and thus seeing Ellie Kemper with a face full of thumbtack nerf darts and Rob Delaney with a missing tooth doesn’t make me laugh like seeing the Wet Bandits getting shot in the balls with a bee bee gun. I feel bad for these characters because I want them to succeed. The film focuses on their struggles as the main plot as well, so the slapstick action doesn’t feel funny and feels very out of place. 

The fact that the film tries to focus on the robbers is a change of pace for the “Home Alone” franchise, however this choice weakens some core parts of the film, such as the relationship between Max and his family. I never feel sad seeing him get lonely while home alone or if he learns a lesson.

Some of the other acting choices like Bea’s fake British accent compared to her normal Irish one also feel strange. The cast is also almost entirely wasted. With Holmes and Parnell having less than five lines each, and Thompson also being in only two or three scenes. Even Bea, who plays what one might consider an important character is hardly given anything.

The release of the film also confuses me, as it was given a release date of November 12th for a Christmas movie. With the film having a Friday release, Black Friday seems like an ideal release date for a Christmas movie.

I highly recommend against watching this movie, I think you’ll have a better time with the original, as the film literally says itself while they watch what appears to be a Sci-Fi reboot of Angels with Filthy Souls. “You can’t remake the classics.”



Overall, I have to give “Home Sweet Home Alone one-and-a-half stars. Yates, Kemper, and Delaney give fun performances, but the story and script give them nothing to work with, causing the film to be overall very weak. I think the plot is extremely weak with a few funny bits, and I don’t find it fun watching two characters I’m rooting for be viciously harmed. 

If you want a good slapstick holiday movie to watch this season, just watch the original “Home Alone” or “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” instead.

Both of them, along with “Home Sweet Home Alone” are available now on Disney+ if you want to watch them.