It’s time to take a look at the next Home Alone film. Kevin’s back and we already know how good he is at stopping crooks. The problem is that the crooks do a good job of stopping themselves as it is and Kevin doesn’t have as much nerve as you’d think. It’s a solid film that is bogged down by a few elements like the villains and the unfortunate ending. There are less iffy jokes like in Home Alone 3 though so that’s a nice improvement.
Kevin is getting ready for Christmas, but it doesn’t seem like it’ll be a good one. His parents filed for divorced and his Dad immediately found the rebound character and intends to marry her as soon as possible. He wants Kevin and his two siblings to spend Christmas at his house, but the Mom doesn’t approve. Ultimately, she leaves it up to Kevin though and initially he chooses to spend Christmas with her. She then makes the really odd decision of telling Kevin to stay with his older brother for a while while she gets some errands done. Kevin tells her that he’s going to get bullied a lot, but she ignores him and leaves. Well…Kevin gets humiliated, lids slammed on him, and a whole lot of other stuff off screen and the Mom’s only response to this is to tell Kevin to go to his room and think about how much worse it could have been. Kevin imagines it all right and decides that instead of having a terrible Christmas over there, he’ll visit his Dad.
This is where the plot starts to get a little obvious and unfortunate, but lets continue. The Dad is now with a super rich soon to be step mom who is basically perfect. She has a large game room, personal attendants for everything, and the house is fully electronic. You just say something and the house will listen. Lets just add in the names so it’s easier. Kate = Mom. Natalie = Step Mom. Peter = Dad. So, Natalie is not just super rich and more fashionable than Kate, but she’s also a nicer person. Her only flaw is that she’s super successful and has to go to a lot of meetings and parties. That’s fine though, it pays the bills and helps keep them rich right? Kevin doesn’t approve though and has a bad attitude the whole time.
Marv returns from the first film and brings alone Vera to rob the place. Kevin has to stop them himself since nobody will believe him, but he does it in the worst ways possible to the point where you can’t sympathize with him. If we’re being honest, we all knew how the film was going to end from the start. Natalie would lose out since Kate has to win and the family would get back together again. It all happens as expected, but you just feel bad for Natalie. Lets think about all of the examples from the top.
Kate allowed Kevin to be bullied and was not apologetic about it at all. She wasn’t being nice to Kevin during Christmas time and her plans for Christmas were rather terrible. Meanwhile, Natalie wasn’t expecting Kevin since he declined the invitation and was ready to have a fun night with Peter, but Kevin just walks in uninvited. All right….that may have wrecked Christmas to an extent, but Natalie quickly shifts gears without batting an eye and gives Kevin a great welcome. The day is going perfectly and while Kevin’s a little ungrateful about Natalie and Peter having to leave, he lets them go. When they get back…Kevin has completely wrecked their multi million dollar mansion by flooding the entire thing with water. He did it to stop the crooks, but did he have to be so extreme? Seriously…millions of dollars gone in the blink of an eye. He ruined the entire mansion.
This is already reason enough for Natalie to get Kevin out of the house for good. Instead, she chooses to forgive and forget. This time, the party is at her house so she gets people to quickly fix it up as best they can and hopes for no disasters this time. That’s not in Kevin’s game plan though as he breaks the windows and makes a loud commotion. He freezes the butler and nearly destroys him. Next, Kevin wrecks the dinner as he throws everything at the villains, which leads to a big fall for all of the guests and things shatter. The party is completely ruined and once again, Kevin should have planned things out better.
Natalie is very upset by this point, but she is completely justified in it. It’s not as if she goes off the rails and hits Kevin or anything like that, but she finally tells him that one more “accident” like that and he’ll have to leave. That’s reasonable right? No, the film makes it a point to say that she is the villain and we should be sympathizing with Kevin right now. No, I was sympathizing with Natalie. She was being a good sport the whole time and even helped with putting the tree up. It got taken down because she had a professional company already on the way to put up their own, but that’s not a big deal. Her very small slights against Kevin were nothing compared to what he did and they weren’t even intentional. She then had to endure a painful conversation between Kate and Peter as they talk about how much fun it used to be when they were married and the old days with Kevin. Is that really a good topic to talk about in front of your new fiancee? Peter’s definitely unlikable, but more on that later.
As you can tell, Natalie had to put up with a lot. The ending just makes it even worse as all of the characters gang up on her. First, Peter decides to break up with Natalie because he wants to move back with his wife. This shows just how petty and superficial Peter is. He was glad to be with her for the money and the late night fun that they had. Once he had enough of that, he just dumped her. I mean, you’ve got to be kidding me. We’re supposed to be on this guy’s side? No way! He has the delicacy and manners of James Bond if he’s going to be like that and the film gives no indication that Natalie was not a good person at all prior to this. She was a very nice character and it just gives you the impression that Peter was using her the whole time. He got what he wanted and got out.
The next big diaster was that Natalie’s butler decided to quit. He had a very well paying job and a nice boss. Natalie was always reasonable and it’s not as if the butler had a whole lot to do. Still, he quits because Kevin tells him that he should. Natalie’s other butler turned out to be a crook as well so now she has no main employees to watch the mansion. It can’t get worse can it? I’m afraid it can as a subplot in the film was that the royal family was coming over. This was super important for Natalie since it would benefit her company quite a lot and she really needed this contract. Well, that’s out, since the prince wants to have Christmas over at Kevin’s house instead.
Lets recap. Natalie had her ultra rich mansion ruined, She had her party completely sabotaged, She lost her reputation, She lost her soon to be married boyfriend, and she lost her staff. You’re supposed to be thrilled at this “happy” ending, but it was really all just in bad taste. She was easily the best character in this film, but she ended up getting a raw deal anyway. I could go on and on and on about how she was the secret hero here and how the film’s ending is very tragic, but you get the point. Over half of this review was just on that after all.
That’s part of the reason why I couldn’t stand Kate and Peter. Peter’s obvious so we don’t need to talk about him anymore. Kate is just as bad as she is completely okay with bullying and she makes life as tough as possible for Natalie. Busting into the house uninvited was definitely not good manners and then trying to say that Kevin’s past Christmases were better is just hogwash. She doesn’t even cope well as she just spends her Christmas Eve crying in front of the TV. She’s not a good character whatsoever. Kevin’s two siblings aren’t good either as they are even more extreme than usual. They were total bullies and I didn’t buy their “suddenly nice” routine at the end. Even when Kevin was in actual danger and called for help, the brother just laughed at him, insulted him, and then hung up. There was quite a lot of bullying and people being generally mean in this film.
Kevin’s not exempt though as he’s just not a nice guy. He immediately goes into areas where he’s not allowed too just to spite everyone. He has the run of the entire mansion aside from one room so what does Kevin do? He immediately goes into that room. He panics a lot and is scared of the villains even after he was just trash talking. He goes through a ton of personality shifts the entire time and you just have to wonder what his plan is. Half of the time he doesn’t seem to know himself. He’s definitely very unlikable and comes off as an ingrate the whole time.
The villains were pretty bad as well. The film went a too far with how goofy they were. They just kept tripping and slipping up at every opportunity. The girl villain seemed as if she was always chewing on something and the guy would just get beat up by everything. Any scene with those two was a little hard to watch so I was always glad to see them not show up. They didn’t have a major role here so that was good. The slapstick definitely looks very painful here as per usual. The villains should have died multiple times, but they keep on going. At least the butler got to help a bit unlike that old lady from the last film who was heavily hinted to do something at some point, but never got around to it. It’s more of a mild consolation than anything though.
Some of the dialogue can be quite forced in the film. Kevin has conversations with his parents about their divorce and offers up his worldly advice, but then he’ll go back to being a very unintelligent kid after that. He is a very inconsistent main character and after a while you’ll start to realize that the writers just didn’t know what to do with him. It’s definitely cheesy and the parents getting back together at the end was more tragic than happy.
Overall, Home Alone 4 was a fun film. For the most part, it was even better than 3 and I was enjoying it quite a bit. It may be silly at times, but the other parts were written well. Unfortunately, the ending kind of wrecked it for me. I thought I would be giving it a solid 7, but the more I wrote this review, the more that I realized that would not be possible. The ending is just way too mean spirited and the film got its protagonists mixed up. It doesn’t really leave you with a “feels good” feeling at the end so I actually won’t recommend it. 90% of it is pretty solid, but the other 10% is enough to knock it back out. I suppose it breaks even, but just barely.