Rated PG - Running time: 1:30 - Released 12/12/97

To tell the truth, I don't approve of the Home Alone series much, because I think it gives the mistaken impression, to children, that a child left alone with criminals knocking at the door is not in danger; he can easily hold his own with cartoon-style violence. I feel that the subject of children being stalked by adult criminals is not one to be taken lightly. That said, I have to admit that this film is not really guilty of that, because the events in it are so ridiculous that no one, not even a child, could possibly confuse them with reality.

This is one of those plots where a simple misunderstanding that could be cleared up in a few minutes snowballs into a farce of epic proportions. It seems that through an airport baggage mix-up, Alex Pruitt (Alex D. Linz) has unknowingly acquired possession of an integrated circuit board that is hidden inside a remote-control toy car. The board is the key to a powerfully destructive device that the bad guys need to complete their evil deal. The bad guys are four international spies played by Olek Krupa, David Thornton, Lenny von Dohlen, and Rya Kihlstedt (I list them together, because their characters are not really distinguishable from each other). They are armed with state-of-the-art, extremely high-tech communications and weaponry, and world-class stupidity.

Using their sophisticated intelligence devices, they track the board to Alex's house, and plan to break in during the daytime, when no one is home. Trouble is, he is home, covered with chicken pox. From this point on, it's the same old formula all over again: with incredible cunning and almost clarivoyant intuition, Alex fends them off time and time again.

What can I say about this? It's lame, slapstick comedy, just like in the other Home Alone movies. There is little characterization; mainly just Alex playing tricks, and the bad guys finding various different ways to say "ouch." Linz actually is a very good actor for a little kid, but there isn't much for him to do except laugh at the downfall of his victims and say "Yes!" with a fist in the air. Haviland Morris, who plays Alex's mother, lends a certain amount of credibility to her role, but she's little more than a side character, as are Alex's father and two siblings.

As for the believability of the script — well, Alex would have to be a genius to make the mental leaps he does in this film. And when he sees the guys coming, he is able in a few minutes to rig the house with numerous, extremely complex, Wile E. Coyote-style booby traps that, in reality, would take weeks to arrange.

But what am I going on about? This isn't reality. It's a movie meant for kids. Some people might think me stodgy for giving it a low rating: it's funny, in its way, and isn't that the whole point? True, but on the other hand, do we want our kids watching trash? **

Copyright 1997 by John R. McEwen and The Republican

See Current Reviews

See FilmQuips Archive