It’s been a while since I got to see a Home Alone film so it’s nice to revisit this film. It’s definitely an enjoyable film although it goes for enough poorly written cliches to keep it down a star. This film gets a lot of other things right though, like having a serious tone in the beginning that slowly transitions the villains into comic relief to the point where you’ll barely remember the times when they were tough.
The film starts off with a very somber beginning. The villains infiltrate an installation and grab a computer chip. They are to bring it to a buyer for a lot of money since the chip makes missiles undetectable by radar. The government who possesses this technology would have a great advantage in war. The problem is that one of the villains swaps bags with an elderly lady by mistake and she happens to be the next door neighbor to Alex, the local genius. Alex quickly figures out that he cannot let the chip get into the wrong hands so he will have to make some traps to keep the crooks out. Can he do this or is this a task that is too much for a little kid?
I do like the fact that Alex figures out who the villains are almost instantly and also figures out what they’re after. It feels like most main characters take forever to put the pieces together. Since he is supposed to be a genius, it makes sense that he would be so smart. Unfortunately, I can’t say that he is a very likable character. He gets his laughs through iffy activities and his “genius” seems to be wasted on contraptions that actually take longer than doing everything by hand. He can be pretty brutal and fearless even when at gunpoint so at least Alex is braver than most people. Calling the cops on the robbers was a smart move even if it didn’t pan out. Alex made a lot of the right calls and there was never any doubt that he would defeat the robbers here since they are not all that smart when compared to a normal person.
There are four villains. They get the best theme in the entire film during their entrance. It’s a very hardcore theme that shows how lethal they are. That’s where the buck stops for them though as they are quickly foiled by a kid multiple times and get hit by so many objects that they should be dead several times over. I guess they’ve got luck on their side, but that’s about it. They manage to insult each other quite a lot despite getting humiliated earlier. The cycle continues to the point where none of the members can move without pain and difficulty. From the 4 crooks, the best one is probably the guy who is always grinning. We had the “emotionless” villain, the “tough” villainess, the “I’m not that smart” guy, and the “I’m bored” villain. They all blend together after a while though and it’s not as if any of them do all that well. Their boss surprisingly doesn’t get any closure, but I suppose we can assume that the FBI put him in his place.
One issue that the film deals with is the writing. It is definitely not good and causes the film to go a little too overboard with how extreme the characters are. For example, the Dad forgets his shorts before heading to a very important business meeting. So…he wouldn’t notice that he left the house without his pants? The police, while they rush out with their guns to check on the kid’s call, act rather oddly for a bit. One officer’s conversation with the Mom to tell Alex not to call again was strange as he would just stare blankly and go on long winded speeches about how important the police are. Then the Mom started talking about a police toy she got Alex when trying to show how serious he is… The siblings are naturally very annoying as well. The brother has a lot of dicey stuff in his room and likes picking on Alex. Ditto for the sister on the teasing.
Of course, they come to Alex’s defense in the end. It’s supposed to be heart warming, but it’s just cheesy and not in a good way. Also, I don’t think the chief of the FBI should be intimidated by little kids when he’s got other officers with him. It was another “hype” scene that just makes you shake your head. Also, Alex mentioned that the neighbor’s dog was kidnapped, but the police didn’t care. Furthermore, shouldn’t the owner have been looking for him? Lets put this into perspective. The villains moved into Alex’s neighborhood, they live across the block. They kidnapped the dog who lived next to the main character’s house and then walk around with him during the day as their cover. Did the owner of the dog move to Hawaii or something? It’s sad to think that he is looking for his dog, but doesn’t notice him passing by every day. I guess the owner didn’t put up any wanted posters either.
The film also hints that Alex’s mean next door neighbor will play a big role in the end or at least have some kind of role. Instead, she’s just kidnapped and learns to like Alex since he saved her from getting frostbite. I didn’t even disagree with her entirely in the opening since Alex was late and he should have shoveled her lawn on time. There was also a parrot who helped out quite a bit. Unfortunately, most of the words that the parrot knew were pretty iffy. The film went for a lot of that kind of humor and it just wasn’t needed. Give us some well written humor instead!
Writing wasn’t the film’s strong suit so it’s lucky that it was following a tried and true formula. Seeing the traps take out the villains was neat. Naturally, most of the traps aren’t all that believable and aren’t played seriously. It’d be a little more grim than funny if the villains actually reacted to all of the pain believably since they take some real mean hits. Lets just say that the kid was not taking any prisoners. I probably would be using the big guns myself if international terrorists were going to arrive at my doorstep though.
Overall, Home Alone 3 is fun, but it’s definitely another film that is really holding itself back. The tone helps to make the film enjoyable and some of the silly moments were handled well. It just could have been a lot better if they dialed down some of the iffy parts like the parrot and the bad writing that was all around. Most of the characters weren’t all that likable. I liked the parents and the Chief of the FBI, but the other characters needed some work. The villains were good enough for their role though. It would have been fun if they could have kept some of the serious music for a little longer though. They do get a lot of not very subtle musical notes though. Whenever a villain shows up, the music either stops for a second or we just get a very loud sound effect for a second. Don’t look at this film through a logical lens, but then again…why would you? It’s a comedy through and through. Most comedies tend to be fun on the surface while not being good movies like Pixels. Luckily, this one was not nearly as extreme so the score is still positive, but another iffy moment or two and it very easily could have dropped to a 5. It’ll be interesting to see how the 4th film fares. Hopefully it’ll be the best one yet!