It’s time to check out another Home Alone film. This one is actually the final installment in the franchise which is actually a pretty big milestone if you think about it. The series has come a long way and had its ups and downs in the process. This film’s decently good and I’d probably put it in the middle of the series. I really can’t say exactly where it is as my recollections on the earlier films aren’t great at times, but at the very least it isn’t as tragic or mean spirited as the last film. That one just ended on a really sour note.
So, the film starts off by introducing us to Finn and the gang. He’s a nice enough kid, but is completely hooked on video games and doesn’t like to go through the motions of attending parties just to adjust to social norms. I can roll with him on this one since just playing video games and eating are really some of the most fun things to do on the holidays. His sister Alexis feels the same way, but only because she is in her rebellious phase and doesn’t want to be seen with her parents. She just wants to listen to her music and go to the mall. Their Mom decides to teach them a lesson by…letting them stay home and have a blast while she and her husband go to a very boring party with a bunch of strangers that they don’t know. I think we can all agree who won out here.
In the Mom’s defense, she took Finn’s game controller so he can’t have any fun. He leaves Alexis her phone though so she gets the sweet end of the deal. The plan is wrecked when Finn finds another controller. This is either a huge plot hole as Finn had another controller and didn’t remember or it was actually a present that he opened during his roughhousing. In which case, I can’t blame the Mom for not assuming that he would find that. What are the odds right? Unfortunately, the new house that the kids live in actually houses a priceless artifact worth almost 1 million dollars and a trio of villains have decided to nab it. Alexis gets locked in the basement with the artifact so it’s all up to Finn now. Does he have the skills for this or is he going to have to call in his online gamer friend?
You’ll notice right away that the gadgets and gizmos that Finn invents aren’t quite as out there as some of the earlier ones. I’m not going to say that they’re realistic either, but they’re certainly a step in the right direction. They also aren’t as over the top painful looking as some of the earlier ones either. It’s a pretty nice balance if you ask me. The humor also doesn’t get all that gross or iffy during the movie. We do have Finn throwing rocks at someone in a way that makes the villain think something iffy is happening which is the furthest the film will go in that direction. So, on the whole the film stays fairly classy. Even the characters aren’t too exaggerated…for the most part.
Of the three villains, the worst is easily the Jessica with her relationship issues. Her main plot is that she wants to get back together with a guy who used to be part of the team but decided to leave. She’s always crying about it and while it’s not even supposed to be emotional…it wasn’t emotional. It was one of those plots that you could do without it. The 2nd crook was definitely the best one. The first two hired Hughes from Craig’s List because he has some nice credentials as a safe cracker. The problem is that he isn’t too bright and keeps nearly jeopardizing their mission by eating cookies and doing all kinds of things to blow their cover. Fortunately the main characters aside from Finn never seem to pick up on these things so it’s okay. I’ll also give him credit for doing a good job of making sure that he got paid extra once the ghosts were involved. Jessica had a pretty good line in the second half when she makes a Ghost Busters reference as well. Their team up by the end in forcing the main villain to renegotiate was smartly done.
Sinclair wasn’t all that great though. He has his wooden leg and stays serious throughout, but he just doesn’t have the same personality level as the new hire. That guy really went all out throughout. I suppose he did a good job of doing all that he could to get the painting though. The sob story behind it was interesting to say the least. There’s certainly nothing wrong with him and the guy was pretty passable. He fulfilled the role well enough even if the guy won’t be remembered for very long.
Finn was a good lead and probably one of the better kids. He seems a lot more reasonable than the protagonists before him even if he doesn’t seem to be as much of a genius. One big strike against him though is that he is scared of everything. He’s basically afraid of his own shadow and hides under the bed when trouble arises. You could make the strong case that pretty much the whole film is his fault although of course if he had not been around then the villains would have made off with the painting. It’s one of those cases of making the wrong call at the right time. Once he started applying video game logic to the real world he quickly improved. Finn also had a big line where he admitted that the only thing to fear in the house was himself.
Alexis is decent as well. She’s certainly a much nicer sibling compared to any of the previous ones. She basically let Finn do whatever he wanted when the parents were gone. Any of the older protagonists would have jumped at the opportunity. Of course, Finn wanted her to pay attention to him which was pretty selfish but she stayed firm. She was nice enough to make a deal with him though and was the only one who started to believe him in the middle about the ghosts. She was captured for a while, but did good during the climax.
The cast was just surprisingly solid in this film. Even the writing felt like a step up over some of the others. Home Alone is a film that just works really well when Christmas is around. The only supporting character who really failed aside from the girl crook was the kid next door. His humor was that he accepts whatever anyone else says at face value..which is nice…but I don’t think it works as well as the film seems to think. His snowball trap against the villain was also cheesy…even for this film. I don’t see a grown adult getting knocked out by a bunch of snowballs. Call me crazy, but I’m just not buying it one bit.
The gamer dude was pretty cool though. When he admitted that he was probably only going to be online for another 8-10 years, the statement was both tragic and realistic. If he never gets up from the video games and keeps up his unhealthy eating habits, then of course he isn’t going to last long. Still, he helped give Finn pointers and even got the parents involved when push came to shove. He was willing to go through any inconvenience if it meant helping Finn out. He did the gamer dudes proud and while at first you think he is just going to be an annoying character, he actually ends up being pretty good.
If there is a big scene that stretches disbelief though, it’s when the family comes back home and doesn’t notice that people were inside. Finn placed a sticker on the door that would rip if someone opened it…and it was ripped. You could make the case that it was wind, but since the house was closed that seems unlikely. Finn then points out that 2 Gingerbread Men are missing when they were there before leaving, but the Mom just suspects that he probably ate them in the sneak. Finn really did everything he could to prove that people were there, but even that didn’t work. I don’t know what else to tell him then since his plan was actually the best out of all the main characters. A shame that it didn’t work, but considering that his Dad also begins to get afraid of the dark and is terrified all night, I suppose it was all futile from the start.
On a last note, I should mention that the party in the mountains was just odd. They were going to be stranded there for days? Why was the party on the mountain anyway? The whole situation just seemed rather crazy and the Mom saying that he can fire her if he likes isn’t a great way to start your speech which involved insulting that person. It was definitely a strange state of affairs, but we needed some reason for the parents to be away from home and this works as well as any.
Overall, This Home Alone film was actually pretty good. It may not be amazing or anything like that, but I think it did really well considering the genres and what the film is trying to be. I won’t say that it takes this premise to its peak as you could definitely make it even better, but I was certainly satisfied through and through. The series got to end on a high note and that’s more than you can say for most. Whether you’ve seen the older films or not, I would definitely recommend checking this film out. I think you’ll be quite surprised after finishing it and if not…at least it’ll get you in the mood for Gingerbread cookies since they looked pretty crispy here.