November 12 is now officially Disney+ day and the streaming service released a massive amount of content (more than 25 films, shorts, and TV shows.)
Among those are, Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings, Jungle Cruise, and the much anticipated reboot of the 90’s classic and arguably the greatest Christmas movie ever, Home Alone called Home Sweet Home Alone.
This isn’t the first reboot of one of our beloved films or TV shows from the past. Disney+ brought back the giant slobbering French Mastiff in their Turner and Hooch series as well as the hockey team we all adored known as the Mighty Ducks in the Disney+ series The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, not to mention the completely reimagined series Doogie Kameāloha, M.D. which pays homage to the 1989-1993 series Doogie Howser, M.D..
With the release of the new film Home Sweet Home Alone, the reviews are coming in. With just 43 reviews, the holiday film has earned a “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, scoring 19% at the time this was written. Here’s what critics are saying:
Neal Justin from the Minneapolis Star Tribune said, “The beloved franchise marches on, this time with a rascally British kid and a few cameos from Saturday Night Live veterans (current cast member Mikey Day co-wrote the script). This time out, our abandoned “hero” goes up against a financially strapped couple (Rob Delaney and Ellie Kemper) who are way too sweet to be subjected to the little monster’s abuse. It’s fun to watch familiar faces engage in outrageous physical comedy, but this film is no substitute for the 1990 original.”
Courtney Howard from Variety didn’t love it and said, “Home Sweet Home Alone takes everything audiences loved about the Chris Columbus-directed, John Hughes-penned original and turns it around on them. Holiday sentimentality co-mingling with slapstick violence hits differently when the filmmakers not only swap the roles of the empathetic protagonist and dastardly antagonists, but also take a both-sides approach to rooting interest. While this might seem like an ingenious way to reinvigorate a long-run-into-the-ground franchise where a child faces off against bumbling burglars, this Disney Plus offering maddeningly fails to lean into the aspects it so desperately and ambitiously seeks to change. Mean-spirited, downright sloppy and awkwardly unfunny, this rote feature reboot lacks holiday cheer.”
Helen O’Hara from Empire Magazine didn’t mince words in her review stating, “The original 1990 Home Alone is essentially a Looney Tunes cartoon brought to life, with Macaulay Culkin’s Kevin taking gleefully violent vengeance on two rotten burglars. This sequel-slash-remake has none of the same barmy sense of anarchy; it feels declawed, but takes the strange decision to make the would-be burglars the real heroes of the piece. The result is not without a few laughs, but it is a bizarre, pointless tale.”
Amy Nicholson from New York Times did not enjoy it and said, “Who’s the real victim here? The audience”
Brian Lowry from CNN.com also panned the film and said, “Home Sweet Home Alone is a very odd duck — a movie that basically replicates the three-decades-old Home Alone template, but in a way that feels slightly weird and ill-conceived. Dropping on Disney+ in connection with the streaming service’s two-year anniversary, it’s a reminder that not all well-known intellectual property ought to be let out of the house.”
Kate Erbland from indieWire concurs and said, “At one point, one of the film’s many supporting characters laments Hollywood’s affection for remaking the classics to stultifying results. It’s the sort of self-reflexive gag that attempts to paper over the thinness of this, yes, stultifying remake. Funnily enough, the elements that most liberally pull from the original Home Alone are somehow the most rewarding on offer in Home Sweet Home Alone, but will likely lead audiences to simply watch that one instead. They should. Sometimes, the original really is the best.”
Nell Minow from RogerEbert.com also prefers the original and said, “This quasi-remake, Home Sweet Home Alone, keeps the basic storyline about a child accidentally left behind who defends his home from would-be burglars with complicated contraptions. It even includes an actor from the original, and a child slapping his cheeks in astonishment, the original’s iconic image. But it misses the key elements that made both the slapstick and the sentiment of the 1990 version appealing.”
Not everyone hated it and it isn’t universally panned. The film received a few positive reviews.
Benjamin Lee from the Guardian said, “The prospect of yet another one, this time with some vague same universe ties to the first, has created more ire than these things usually do since the trailer dropped last month, a sign of both the original’s enduring fandom and an increased fatigue with revisiting and repeating well-worn property. But dropping on Disney+ in time for its younger target audience to watch, rewatch and then watch again by the big day, Home Sweet Home Alone is a surprisingly entertaining, if wholly unnecessary, sequel, a tangerine where we expected to find a lump of coal.”
Adam Graham from Detroit News also seemed to like it and said, “There are callbacks to the original Home Alone — fun fact: this is the sixth entry in the Home Alone franchise — and jokes about how remakes are never as good as the original. Which is true, and holds true here. But Home Sweet Home Alone holds its own, a new spin on an old tale that keeps the spirit of the original alive.”
Josh Wilding from ComicBookMovie.com agrees and said, “It won’t necessarily go down as a classic, but Home Sweet Home Alone is a fun family film for the holidays that kids will have a blast with, while there are enough gags to make it an enjoyable diversion for parents as well.”
It seems the reviews are mixed and if you watch it with an open mind, without comparing it to the original, it might be enjoyable and could possibly become a family favorite. Of course, installments 3, 4, and 5 of the franchise couldn’t hold up to the magic of the original Macaulay Culkin films either so there’s no reason to expect this film to surpass the originals.
Home Sweet Home Alone began streaming on Disney+ on Friday, November 12.