The McAllister family is back, at least part of them, and this time Kevin has a new house to set up traps to stop Marv, along with his wife and mother, as they try to kidnap a royal prince who will be visiting Natalie, Peter’s new girlfriend. That’s because, in this movie, Peter and Kate are divorced and Peter is living with his new girlfriend. Instead of having five kids, the McAllisters only have three kids; Kevin, Buzz and Megan. And, Marv has broken away from Harry and claims to be running the show, but we find out that his mother, who has been working as a maid for Peter’s new girlfriend, is the real leader.
This is a made-for-tv movie and it looks it. All new actors have taken over for the main characters. They all do a fine job acting, but you can’t help but compare them to their actors in the original two movies. That makes this feel like a cheap imitation. The kid who plays Kevin doesn’t have the same charisma as Macaulay Culkin. French Stewart is funny, but doesn’t quite embody Marv like Daniel Stern. Plus, while seemingly happy families fall apart over the years, it just feels wrong for Peter and Kate to not be together. Yes, they reunite at the end, but it feels weird up until then.
The plot twist that the nice maid was actually helping Marv and Vera instead of the mean butler could be seen coming from a mile away. That was a great twist the first time it happened, but it’s been done so many times since then, it’s an obvious trope. It’s also one Disney still uses in a lot of their films to this day. Molly did a good job of establishing she was nice, but her heel turn wasn’t shocking at all.
However, I really liked the updated traps Kevin sets for Marv, Vera and Molly. It was a house for the future, at least by 2002 standards. They aren’t as classic as the ones established in the first two “Home Alone” films, but they are still fun.
This is nothing like the initial two “Home Alone” movies, but personally I like this one more than “Home Alone 3.” I found it charming and enjoyable because I knew going in that it was made for TV and not intended to be theatrical quality. That lowered my expectations and it surpassed the lower bar.
Ranking: 3 stars out of 5
What did you think of “Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House?”