Home Alone 2: Lost In New York

Part of watching and enjoying Home Alone is letting go of all the improbability and nonsense and just taking the film as it comes. My 6 year old nephew Ben watched it recently and had this to say about it:

We watched it too, and Sean reviewed it himself, though less adorably. I’m sure you know its premise: it’s about an 8 year old kid named Kevin (Macauley Culkin) (in the first take of the above video, Ben called him “Cameron” and I think it’s really funny that in the 30 years since this movie was released, it is now more common to know a Cameron than a Kevin) who accidentally gets left behind at home when his whole family takes a European vacation. His mother (Catherine O’Hara) struggles to get home to him while Kevin has quite an adventure thwarting two burglars (Daniel Stern, Joe Pesci) from terrorizing his house. You really have to stretch the imagination to allow for an 8 year old’s prank assault on two hardened criminals, and his family’s supposed inability to have virtually any adult in the entire city of Chicago check in on him. But it’s fun.

Home Alone did such voracious box office that they couldn’t help but come out with a sequel. Now, it’s fairly common to leave a kid behind. My mom was vigilant and caring but with 4 daughters and a mini van that was often brimming with extra hangers-on, I myself was left behind as a kid and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one (were you? have you done it as a parent?). I was peeing when they left and wasn’t too distressed to find my family had disappeared. I knew right away what must have happened and didn’t panic. I’m sure my family came back for me within minutes. But I bet it’s even easier to forget a kid now, with parents splitting duties with different cars and different destinations. It happens. But really, has it ever happened that someone BOARDS A PLANE AND LEAVES THE COUNTRY without their kid? I realize this was pre-9/11, but there were still security measures. You still had to check your luggage and have your passport checked and your boarding pass printed and your carry-on scanned through security. How did they continually not notice their youngest was missing? The one that writer John Hughes has repeatedly pointed out is a troublemaker, a constant thorn in almost everyone’s side. Wouldn’t the silence have been a dead giveaway?

Anyway, Home Alone 2 asks us to believe that it has happened again. The very next year, Kevin’s family plan to spend Christmas in Florida. Kevin gets as far as the airport but is separated from the group but is somehow not missed. And wouldn’t you be extra vigilant after the first time? And despite airport security being a general thing, Kevin doesn’t just get left behind but in fact manages to board a flight to New York. And then has a whole vacation, checking himself into a swanky hotel with his dad’s credit card and going to town on room service. And if your incredulity was already meeting its limit, get this: the very same criminals who tried to rob him last year have just been released from prison and are headed for – you guessed it – New York City, which Kevin, though just a 9 year old boy, must defend with a very similar set of elaborate pranks, frankly enough to kill just about anyone and yet somehow not enough to discourage these two dimwits even though there isn’t a heist in the world that’s worth this aggravation.

This movie strikes me as incredibly dated, though I love seeing all these weird little relics of the past – a carbon paper credit card imprinter, a hotel room key that’s actually a key, a cameo by Donald Trump that nobody boos.

The thing that I feel is unforgivable? Kevin’s family have had a whole year to rehearse him in emergency protocol. Last year they were unprepared. Kevin could have made one call to a grandparent or a family friend or the goddamned police, and been done with it. Again, in New York, he decides to take on criminals himself rather than asking a grown-up for help. How dumb is this kid?

Home Alone 2 takes no chances, it simply replicates the first movie almost exactly, sometimes line for line, scene for scene. It’s more a remake than a sequel, but what the heck, give the people what they want!

[Note: Disney+ has announced plans to reboot the franchise. Jojo Rabbit‘s breakout star, Archie Yates, is set to star (not as Kevin McCallister, but as another neglected child), and Ellie Kemper and Rob Delaney are also set to appear.]

[And another note: check out more of Ben’s reviews on Frozen 2 and Detective Pikachu.]

17 thoughts on “Home Alone 2: Lost In New York

  1. Robyn

    Love your nephew’s “interview” of Home Alone – so cute 🙂 And I agree with you, you would never believe they could make the same mistake twice in leaving their child unless you want to remake the same movie. But hey, I guess it works!

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  2. J.

    Haha. He doesn’t have a second favourite part… not even the slippy stairs? Scolded hand or head on fire can shift the aftershave from top spot. Good on him. Clearly doesn’t like to see people being treated so cruelly.

    Anyhoo, Home Alone 2… I cant even really remember it.

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  3. Reely Bernie

    The perfect example of a cash grab sequel, carbon-copied out of the successful, original formula. I loved the hotel scenes (and Tim Curry). After that, it felt like 40 minutes of physical gag after gag – all of which would kill someone instantly. I tried to rewatch this but had to turn it off. Oh well – the first one is still an annual heartwarming (and more believable) tradition. Your nephew rocks.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Yeah I didn’t know Curry was in this and I also didn’t know why he would instantly be filled with such rage toward a child.
      However, I REALLY took exception to the very first ‘prank’ that Kevin pulls on the robbers, dropping several bricks on them from a rooftop. A brick, especially at that velocity, would very likely kill them on the spot, but at the very least put a dent in their head causing brain damage. Done: movie over.

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      1. Reely Bernie

        There’s a decent behind the scenes look at the original on Netflix (The Movies that Made Us, I think). Who knew the entire indoor scenes were shot in a house built in a school gym! Yeah, the sequel would be much shorter after the first brick. Also, I love it how when I bring up the sequel, everyone talks about all the pigeon poo that lady would have had on her jacket, haha!

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  4. ninvoid99

    I enjoy the film, despite that cameo from our fuckhead dictator, though it was a re-hash of the first film and I heard Macaulay Culkin admitted that everyone phoned it in during the film as they knew it was an easy money-grab and they took it. Can’t blame them for saying no to all of that money.

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  5. leendadll

    I don’t like the Home Alone movies but enjoyed the related episode of “The Movies That Made Us”, though possibly only because I learned my high school BFF’s first high school (she moved) served as the studio lot.

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