Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House

December 18, 2009 | By Chad | Category: Blogs

Earlier this week I watched Home Alone 4. That's right, Number 4. Didn't know that they made a fourth movie after the egg that Home Alone 3 laid, did you? Well someone thought it was a good idea and it was so awesome that it skipped theatres and premiered as a TV movie on ABC on November 3, 2002. For some reason I decided to record it on the DVR because I was floored to see that title as I scrolled past it on the Hallmark channel.

Home Alone 4
The Worst.

Let me start by saying that it was not the best movie that I ever watched. You could have probably guessed that. Set in 1991, Kevin McCallister, now played by Michael Weinberg, is dealing with his parents being separated at Christmas. In this 4th Home Alone installment, Kevin is 9 years old (although the actor is younger that Macaulay Caulkin in the original) and many references to events that take place in the previous movies are made and there is no continuity. The original Home Alone was made 12 years earlier and they made a third that had nothing to do with Kevin McCallister, so why return to 1991 12 years later? A lot has happened in the past year of Kevin's life – his parents are about to divorce and Buzz is younger and smaller. At least in the third movie, they tell a completely different story since they didn't have the original Kevin McCallister. Perhaps we could have had a sequel to Alex Pruitt's battle against the North Korean terrorist group, a completely different story altogether, or better yet no new sequel at all.

For whatever reason, these are the cards that were dealt early in the movie and I accepted them at face value. Like how Aaron Eckhart's Two-Face dies in The Dark Knight, but then Tommy Lee Jones' Two-Face is in Batman Forever (filmed earlier, but supposedly in the future). I just live with it despite how much it bothers me, or maybe I should just pretend that Batman Forever does not exist like I will do with Home Alone 4.

Kevin is living with his mom, and his dad comes over to tell his soon-to-be ex-wife that he is going to get remarried to a rich hottie named Natalie after only 8 months of separation. The dad invites the kids (now only 3 kids instead of the original litter) over to his fiancé's "smart" house for Christmas. The kids decide to stay with mom, but Kevin, fed up with how Buzz treats him, decides to run away and ends up at Natalie's mansion. Kevin enjoys all of the gifts that Natalie showers him with, but then he finds out that Marv and his wife Vera are planning to kidnap a prince that is supposed to visit Natalie's house for Christmas (and yes, that's the same Marv from Home Alone 1 and 2 but now played by French Stewart instead of Daniel Stern - lame). To make a long 89 minute story shorter, Kevin uncovers Marv and Vera's plan and prevents them from kidnapping the prince by setting up a handful of tricks and traps for the would-be kidnappers to fall in to. Kevin saves the day again by destroying a house and ends up reuniting his family in the process. Apparently all the dad could think about the whole time he was with Natalie was his family – I wonder if Tiger Woods took a lesson. Not only are the traps more stupid and unbelievable than in any of the prior movies, but they spend so much time trying to build this stupid plot that they can only make room for about 3 sequences of traps. Apparently no one in the new crew recognized the formula for success from the first two movies – burglars falling for potentially deadly traps over and over for a solid hour or more. It is possible to make the same movie over and over again, but they dropped the ball big time here.

According to IMDB, "Daniel Stern, who played Marv in the first two films, was approached to reprise his role in this one. Stern quickly declined, calling it 'an insult, total garbage.' " No surprise that none of the original actors wanted to return for this abomination. French Stewart, from 3rd Rock from the Sun fame, took over the role of Marv and is the "biggest" name in this blockbuster, but you would probably recognize the actress who plays Vera, Missi Pyle, as well. She has had roles in Galaxy Quest, Josie and the Pussycats, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and most recently Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, where she plays Raymus' hot wife Raylene – mother of the Cyclops that they keep in the basement. With the exception of Dodgeball, she basically looks the same and plays the same annoyingly over-the-top stupid and/or stuck-up character in every movie. Vince Vaughn has made a living playing the same character in every movie, and I think it might work for her too.

The lone bright spot of the movie was seeing Erick Avari answer the door as Natalie's disgruntled security guard. You would recognize him as the Indian-born actor with his famous white chinstrap beard. He has looked the same since he yelled, "No weezing the juice" to Pauly Shore in Encino Man. He also played Kasuf in Stargate (a film that French Stewart was also in), and he was also in The Mummy. He's another actor that has made a living off by playing the exact same character over and over again. It almost makes you think that there are no original ideas in Hollywood and they just do a lottery draw of characters and try to put them in a movie together.

Oh well, if you do something well, then you should never do it for free. That does not go for the writers that stole John Hughes characters and made this trash – Debra Frank and Steve Hayes owe me 89 minutes of my life back. This is the worst Christmas movie that exists, and is likely the worst movie I have ever seen.

Here are some revealing trends that most people with common sense would have taken as a hint that Home Alone 4 should not exist:

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_Alone

And no surprise here:

Source: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0329200/