Max Mercer is a 10-year old who has desires to get some quiet time away from his family. His wish is granted by mistake when Max is left home alone after his family fly out to Tokyo. On the flip side, we are also introduced to a married couple named Rob (Jeff McKenzie) and Pam (Ellie Kemper), who have two young children. After Rob loses his job, the family is struggling to make ends meet. Rob and Pam have also decided to put their home on the market without letting their children know.
After a valuable doll from Rob’s storage disappears, he suspects young Max stole it from his home. Desperate for money and determined to get back what is rightfully theirs, Rob and Pam decide to team up and break into Max’s house while he’s home alone. But soon, this married couple will find out that retrieving the valuable item back from Max’s home will not be an easy task.
Home Sweet Home Alone is the sixth entry within the franchise, and the film serves as another sequel to the original 1990 film. Home Sweet Home Alone attempts to carry many familiar beats from the original film. Many quotes, moments and familiar musical numbers all appear in this film. To top it off, there is even one character brought back as a cameo from the original 1990s smash hit feature.
But even with repeated beats from the original, Home Sweet Home Alone is a disaster in every direction. The film’s biggest flaw is its characters, who are all unlikeable. The vast majority of characters are just silly and, at times, stupid. No character on screen will be supported by audiences, which is a shame because it’s evident actors are generally trying, especially the husband and wife duo played by Jeff McKenzie and Ellie Kemper. There is so much time spent on Rob and Pam that Max feels more of a side character with zero back story and character development. Actor Devin Ratray returns as Buzz McCallister (Kevin McCallister’s big bully brother). Sadly, his scenes are completely wasted, and, again, he is highly unlikeable and written to be more idiotic than ever before.
There are many scenes that feel pointless, unnecessary and unfunny. One painful scene consists of Max’s mother sitting on an aeroplane and dealing with a man who enjoys looking at her entertainment screen. This scene overstays its welcome to the point that I almost gave up altogether. As per any Home Alone film, the biggest highlight is supposed to be the tricks, pranks, and stunts. Sadly, this is again a weaker aspect. While the actors attempt to have fun with this, the filming style of editing and lack of creativity is evident. Butter on steps or Mentos in a bottle of Cola are some examples of cruel (but weak) pranks that are dished out on our crooks. The editing at one point even reveals the face of a stunt double. Still, ultimately, all the pranks are uninteresting, mostly because we already know the highly predictable outcomes.
Overall, this is one Christmas movie families need to avoid. It saddens me to see the outcome after so many Home Alone sequels and time that has passed. Filmmakers have either failed to redeliver the magic from the ’90s or create something overly new and fresh. The sixth instalment (yes, sixth) is a disaster. It consists of a predictable plot, unfunny jokes, and unlikeable characters; it took me two seatings to complete a full viewing to review. I feel like I’ve been pranked like one of the crooks who broke into a house. Sad to say, this film is anything but sweet, and I recommend fans stick with rewatching the original instead. Home Sweet Home Alone (2021) is Now Available on Disney+.