Film Advent Calendar – Day 13: Home Alone 2

Home Alone has become iconic, not just as a Christmas film, but also in pop culture, with the shaving scene being parodied and having homages thrown at it from all directions. It was a brilliant film which paved way for four sequels and numerous copycats. Although it was a film which never needed a follow-up, that’s what we got with Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

While the rule of sequels usually damns most follow ups into being pale imitations of their predecessors, Home Alone 2 is one of the few which I’d argue is on par with the original. While it may at heart be a kind of retread of the original, there are enough new ideas and a much grander scale to proceedings, that it feels fresh and new.

The basic gist of the plot concerns Kevin McCallister being accidentally abandoned again. This time though he catches the wrong plane and ends up in New York. Technically this is all his fault this time around instead of his parents forgetting him. If he wasn’t so impatient he would have been able to keep up with his dad and would have avoided the whole New York debacle. But alas no, his impatience to put batteries in his recorder which he probably wouldn’t have used until reaching his destination, separated him from his family and he now has to fend for himself as he faces creepy people in the park, a very sinister hotelier and his arch nemesis Marv and Harry (who just so happens to be out of prison and in the same area as Kevin).  How will he survive???

The writing and direction are great which is also boosted by the team who made the first film. John Hughes was a master of scriptwriting and everything is so well planned and thought out. The character interaction is impeccable and the casting choices are sublime. Tim Curry works perfectly as the hotelier who is trying to catch Kevin out and although presented as a kind of bad guy, he is ultimately doing his job. Both Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern reprise their roles from the first and just the perfect comedy criminals. There is an essence of Laurel and Hardy in their relationship which works so well.

When we get to the ‘Home invasion’ section of the film we get to see some clever and creative traps which are a step up from the first films. Realism gets thrown way out the window though as we have bricks thrown into faces, flaming heads and some very heavy equipment being thrown around. It’s all very slapstick and fun (although I do feel encouraging kids to throw bricks at people possibly isn’t the best idea).

When all is said and done, Home Alone 2 is a worthy sequel which is a great Christmas family film. Along with the first, it’s one of those films I feel the need to watch every year. The following sequels aren’t great although the 3rd one is ok and the 5th is a surprisingly fun film in itself (and featuring Malcolm Mcdowell). It’s a brilliant feel-good film and one that brings about the message if friendship and family. What more could you ask for?