Home Sweet Home Alone Review

Max (Archie Yates) is left at home by mistake when his mum (Aisling Bea) flies to Tokyo. Meanwhile, a down-on-their-luck couple (Ellie Kemper and Rob Delaney) are trying to access his house to reclaim a valuable German porcelain doll they believe Max stole from them.

by Helen O'Hara |
Updated on
Release Date:

12 Nov 2021

Original Title:

Home Sweet Home Alone

The original 1990 Home Alone is essentially a Looney Tunes cartoon brought to life, with Macaulay Culkin's Kevin taking gleefully violent vengeance on two rotten burglars. This sequel-slash-remake has none of the same barmy sense of anarchy; it feels declawed, but takes the strange decision to make the would-be burglars the real heroes of the piece. The result is not without a few laughs, but it is a bizarre, pointless tale.

Jojo Rabbit’s Archie Yates plays Max, the rich kid forgotten when his large family is rebooked on different flights to Tokyo. But following an encounter the previous day, average couple Pam (Ellie Kemper) and Jeff (Rob Delaney) come looking for the antique German figurine they think Max stole from their open house, sparking a series of misunderstandings that spiral into slapstick traps and tricks.


The problem is that, if the thieves aren't horrible, the traps feel sadistic instead of satisfying. There's no pleasure in seeing a basically nice person having their feet flambéed, or being hit in the face with increasingly heavy objects, by an entitled rich kid. Perhaps we should take comfort that the traps this time are less obviously lethal. And all the time devoted to Pam and Jeff is time not spent creating empathy for Max, or giving him any of the growth that — just about — made Culkin's Kevin worth rooting for against the Wet Bandits.

A further shame comes in the wealth of comedy talent in supporting roles here, from Jim Rash to Kenan Thompson, who get no chance to shine. That's a problem when there's a sort of vacuum at the heart of the movie. You get the sense that someone has tried to add nuance to the formerly irredeemable baddies and forgotten the heroes. But the time lavished on them is taken from Max and his mum (Aisling Bea), reduced to a pale imitation of Culkin and Catherine O'Hara's memorable turns in the original. And if you don't let your bad guys be bad guys, your heroes look like jackasses instead.

A defanged variation on the theme that doesn't commit hard enough to be silly fun, beyond a few chuckles.
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