“Home Sweet Home Alone” is a despicable nightmare of a movie that makes absolutely no sense and is disgustingly corporate. This remake of the 1990 classic was directed by Dan Mazer and written by Mikey Day & Streeter Seidell, two hack writers for SNL, one of modern television’s worst big-budget shows. It stars Rob Delaney and Ellie Kemper as victims being tortured by the obnoxious child Max Mercer, played by Archie Yates (the comedic relief from “Jojo Rabbit”).
People reviewing this online keep saying that the film’s most significant problem is the writers’ decision to make the robbers sympathetic, and while I definitely agree that that decision destroyed much of the film, this movie’s most significant problem is that Max Mercer is one of the most unlikable movie characters of 2021.
In the very first scene, Max uses the bathroom of a couple selling their house because they’re struggling financially. He then calls the husband Frankenstein and insults a doll that’s the husband’s precious family heirloom for no reason other than being an entitled brat. Not only does this make Max immediately irredeemable to the audience, but it also makes him incredibly stupid. Then when the couple noticed that their doll was gone a few scenes later, they immediately (and reasonably) assumed that their doll was stolen by Max since he made fun of it earlier, and then went on to try to rob his house. Even though Max didn’t actually steal the doll, that entire plotline could’ve been avoided if he simply didn’t make fun of it.
The “Home Alone” franchise has a 2-part formula: (1) robbers plan to rob the protagonist’s house and (2) the protagonist is a child who is left at home by his family on Christmas. I just explained why the former could have been prevented, and the latter could also have also been prevented. The night before his family leaves, Max runs away from them by going into the car to watch cartoons, where he then falls asleep. If he didn’t do this and just went to his room, he wouldn’t have missed a thing. Also, in all reality, he would’ve suffocated and died in that car overnight. The car was turned off and had all its windows shut, and we’re expected to believe that he was perfectly fine? Within the first 15 minutes of “Home Sweet Home Alone”, the formula is completely destroyed and the main character somehow avoided certain death.
As I previously mentioned, by making the robbers sympathetic and by (unintentionally) making the child a straight-up villain, the violence at the end is distasteful and unenjoyable. No viewer wants to see a struggling, desperate couple who just want to take back an heirloom get:
- set on fire
- stabbed in the fingers and face
- shot at by pool balls
- hit by weights
- their teeth knocked out
What’s the point of having the trap climax when it just makes the viewer feel miserable rather than excited? The writing for this film is utterly atrocious.
Frankly, this film is soulless. It has no style, humor, or wit, and of the very few good ideas it did have, it completely squandered them. For example, the casting for this film (except for the terrible lead) was full of hilarious comedians like Pete Holmes, Chris Parnell, Andrew Daly, and Tim Simons, who were all wasted and given almost no screen time.
“Home Sweet Home Alone” contains no more than two minutes worth of scenes showing Max actually having fun being home alone. The character literally says that it was only “cool for an hour.” By immediately wanting his family back, there’s no buildup to what should be a satisfying and heartwarming decision. This is a critical error in the film’s structure and takes away the valuable lesson for children that was arguably the backbone of the original film.
“Home Sweet Home Alone” is easily one of 2021’s worst movies. It has absolutely nothing going for it: no heart, no humor, no passion, no talent, and no reason to even exist. This is a bland, lazy, and corporate product that’s a perfect example of conveyor belt filmmaking. It disgusts me and it’s one of the worst remakes in recent memory.