Wednesday, May 12
Movie Review - Home Alone 4
Alright, today I'm reviewing Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House. I'm not in the mood to joke about how good this one is, so let's just cut right into this crap. For this review, I'll be assuming that you've seen the original. If you haven't, I recommend that you do - it's funny, it's cute, and I still enjoy it. Also, I apologize for the lack of pictures in this review, but I'm having trouble with my computer today. I will add more pictures whenever I get the chance.
First problem with Home Alone 4, it doesn't have the Home Alone musical theme, or even anything close. Home Alone 3 didn't have it much, but at least it hinted the theme with the movie's intro. Second problem is that it's Kevin Mccalister again. Yup, from the first movie. Why is this a problem? Well, Kevin only has two siblings instead of four: Buzz and Megan, and his parents are getting divorced. That's the way to stomp all over many people's childhoods. Also, it's supposed to be a sequel to the first two, yet everyone in the family looks younger. Also, while Buzz was a jerk to Kevin in the first two movies, he's just way over the top in this one and doesn't even hide it from their mother. They turn Megan into the same kind of jerk too. The worst part of this sequel is that Kevin's parents are getting divorced. Oh yeah, you learn all of this in the first five minutes - perfectly setting the mood for the rest of this abomination.
Anyway, the movie begins as Mr.McCallister pops by to casually tell his wife that he's getting married...eight months after they separated. I'm pretty sure a real conversation like that would involve maybe a bit more screaming, anger, or crying, but she takes it rather casually. He invites the kids over for Christmas with him and his new fiance, and even tells them a royal family will be there. They're nice enough not to tell us what country the royal family is from. All three kids decline, but we all know that Kevin's going to change his mind or else there wouldn't be a movie. Later that evening, Buzz is told to babysit Kevin. Buzz has the nerve to...make him do all the chores. After doing several chores, Kevin makes an angry face which looks more like he's about to kiss someone than anything else. After his mother comes home, he wishes that he was an only child and storms up to his room. I'm sure that was just a lame attempt to try to make him look like Macaulay Culkin from the first two movies. He then decides to accept his dad's invitation, then proceeds to dig into his piggy bank rather than use the phone to call his father.
We now see Mr.McCallister and his fiance, Natalie, walk into her mansion, where everything works by voice command: doors, lights, the curtains, the fireplace - everything. Heck, the house even cleans itself. For something that's supposed to be a direct sequel to the early 90's classic, there's some pretty modern, and even futuristic technology here. Marv, whose played by the weird guy from 3rd rock from the sun, is seen spying on the house with his wife. There is absolutely no chemistry between them, and Marv looks more like Harry than anything else. Apparently, Daniel Stern (he played Marv in the first two Home Alones) was asked to act in this movie, but replied "It's an insult, total garbage." I fully agree with that statement Mr.Stern. Anyway, Marv and, um, Ms.Marv plan to kidnap the young prince of the royal family.
Kevin rides to Natalie's mansion in a taxi. How would he even know where to go? Anyway, we cut to something that shouldn't be in a kid's movie - Mr.McCallister and Natalie necking. Kevin is let inside, is introduced to Natalie and her workers, and is shown his room. Admittedly Kevin's room is quite impressive, with several big screens, an arcade machine, a giant bed, and tons of space.
Meanwhile, Ms.McCallister looks for Kevin at home for an exhausting two seconds. Mr.McCallister then calls to let her know Kevin just arrived at the mansion. She takes it rather well, showing no surprise during the call and exhaling lightly. Where's the shock and surprise? In the first movie, Ms.McCallister was devastated to learn that Kevin has been left Home Alone, but here she doesn't even seem to care.
Mr.McCallister and Natalie let Kevin open one present early. It happens to be a remote control airplane. OK, so now we're ripping off Home Alone 3's remote control car? By the way, every time the butler/security guy Mr.Prescott shows up, there's sinister music as he just stands there all cold and everything. Hm, is he with the bad guys. Also, he's a jerk to the kid, while the Maid is always nice to him. She even shows him a hidden liquor cabinet. We now get a montage of Kevin dancing around to James Brown's "I got you (I feel good)." I'm sorry, but when did Kevin ever dance around in the first two. He goofed around and ran with his arms swinging in the air screaming with joy. Kevin also has several run-ins with the Mr.Prescott again.
Marv and Ms.Marv are once again spying on the mansion, while Marv tells his wife that he's the boss. Somehow this turns into a full minute conversation that's more annoying than anything else. After the maid leaves to do some shopping, the two criminals approach the mansion to get used to the layout. Kevin sees them running down the yard and calls Mr.Prescott for help. Mr.Prescott doesn't reply however. Somehow Marv has a remote to the mansion as well, and enters the building easily. He heads straight for Kevin's room, thinking it's going to be the prince's room. By the way, the arcade machine has changed from earlier; did they have to return the rented arcade machine and settle for something else? How's that for a high-budget movie? Anyway, they head into the bathroom, where the bath is completely full of water. Kevin peeps around the corner and sticks his tongue out at Marv before activating the weaponized shower. Seriously, the water shoots out of the shower as if it's a pressurized leak in the city's water mainline. It knocks the two thieves/kidnappers right off their feet. They keep slipping over and over again as if it's supposed to be funny - it isn't. The only thing I'm laughing at here is how ridiculous this shower is, I mean...how are we supposed to take this seriously? The water pressure eventually breaks the bathroom door open, and FLOODS THE ENTIRE MANSION! Kevin's trying to look surprised as the two thieves slide down the stairs with the title wave of water, but the young actor can't hold his grin back. I guess he's having trouble taking this seriously too.
Anyway, Marv and his wife leave, and then Mr.McCallister and Natalie show up. Natalie has a panic attack as Kevin tries to explain what happened. Mr.Prescott denies the possibility of any house invaders, and has a childish "Did not" "Did too" argument with Keven. Know what, I'm having a hard time believing that anyone could have taken this movie seriously. Is this movie a practical joke? Prescott then hands the heavily breathing Natilie a paper bag to breath into. How would that help? Of course it's all fine because by the afternoon EVERYTHING'S PERFECTLY DRY. Wait, what? Nevermind, moving along. Kevin sneaks into the security room to watch the security tapes. He sees that someone turned off the cameras while the robbers were in the house. Hm, suspicious isn't it!? We then cut to Marv and his wife driving away. He exposits that they have an inside man. Hm, even more suspicious. It can't be Mr.Prescott, can it? Marv and his wife than have a sissy hitting fight. Who wrote this?
After a mess of pointless scenes, we get a cheesy music video for "Jingle Bells" as Kevin decorates the christmas tree with MR.McCallister and Natilie. This is, without a doubt, the cheesiest scene I've ever seen in any movie. The fiance leaves for dinner with some friends, allowing Kevin and his dad have a serious talk about his separation. The rest of Kevin's family is now seen decorating their tree. Ms.McCallister then watches old christmas videos and cries unconvincingly.
The next morning, Kevin discovers that the tree has been redecorated, and learns that the Natilie always gets it professionally decorated. Wow, that's just sad. Kevin's supposed to look upset here, but he just looks bored looks. Either way, Natilie lets him open another early present to console him. It turns out to be a kid's spy kit. Who should show up next but Ms.McCallister and Kevin's siblings. Another rather friendly greeting for two people who have been separated for about eight months. Where's the tension? Where's the raw emotion? Holy crap this movie sucks! Kevin's parents tell a story about Kevin's stuffed bear as if they're still close to each other. Could this mean that they get back together in the end?
Anyway, Ms.McCallister and Kevin's sibblings leave. Shortly after, Mr.McCallister and Natilie leaving to pick up the royal family at the airport. Kevin then wanders into a busy kitchen where Mr.Prescott casually lets in Marv and Ms.Marv, who are dressed as waitors. Kevin tries to warn Prescott, who simply tells him off. Kevin then stomps on Prescott's foot and leads him into the...wait. Just a second ago the kitchen is full of cooks and servers, and now it's completely empty? Hello director, hello continuity, anyone? Anyway, Kevin locks Prescott into the giant freezer and heads out to deal with Marv. No wait, correction, he shuts the door, but doesn't lock it. Also, with that giant window on the freezer door I'm sure someone would let Prescott out. How many giant plot holes can you have in one scene?
We cut to the limo where we learn that the royal family's flight has been cancelled, which means this movie has just gotten longer. Why won't this movie just end?
Marv and Ms.Marv are seen sneaking around the house as Kevin follows them. Marv then explains the kidnapping plan, which is nothing but stuffing the prince in a bag and lowering him out the window with a rope. They procede to practice the plan with Marv's wife in the bag, why? This scene is made worse with the fact that they're constantly arguing about whose the boss again. Marv throws an anchor just beyond the door and closes it. Marv then lowers his wife somewhat roughly down until the rope runs out. You know, for a carefully concieved plan, you'd think they'd make sure the rope was long enough, but not these bumblinb baffons. Kevin opens the door and the anchor flies into Marv's butt. Marv falls out the window and lands on his wife. Despite the utter simplicity of this scene, Kevin grins like he did something brilliant. Also, I'm sure a metal anchor supporting the weight of a fully grown adult would damage the wooden door, but it doesn't.
Marv and his wife walk back into the kitchen, where Kevin waits around the corner. He nails Marv in the face with a frying pan, flipping him onto his back. Wow, for a kid Kevin must have immense upper body strength to do that, is he the Hulk? Kevin then jumps onto a table, and this knocks two big bowls of sauce onto the kidnappers. The mathematical percision required to accurately accomplish such a feat is mind-boggling. Kevin then runs out of the kitchen, pushing through the doors. When the doors swing back, they smash the kidnappers and send them flying onto the stove, burning their butts. Ok, that's just physically impossible. Anyway, somehow a bunch of people at the party fall over, knocking down two ice statues. One statue reveals a shivering Mr.Prescott. In the kitchen, Marv's wife says "Marv, your on fire." Marv replies "Thanks honey." "No, you're really on fire." Marv has a delayed scream reaction and starts running around. He wasn't even on fire, his coat was just red. Know what, being on fire would be more entertaining than this. Mr.McCallister, who arrived just before this chaotic scene occured, shouts "Kevin!". Again, the movie makers are desperately trying to connect this with the originals.
Of course Kevin's in trouble, and they demand him to apologize just like in Home Alone 2. Mr.McCallister accuses Kevin of trying to mess up his relationship with Natilie. We then cut to Ms.McCallister crying uncontrolably while watching "It's a wonderful life." Kevin calls her and they both lie about having a good time. Natilie then threatens Kevin that he will never see his father again if he crosses her. Wow, what a B!!(#.
The next morning we see Kevin setting up two or three incredibly lame traps without a montage. I mean come on, even Home Alone 3 had a montage - two even. They've been trying desperately to try to connect this junk with the original, yet they can't have a trap setting montage? Anyway, Mr.McCallister and Natilie leave again. Seriously, why do they keep leaving him like this? Every time they've left, Kevin's messed something up, and yet they keep doing it. Marv and his wife head toward the mansion again, and Kevin spots them. He locks Mr.Prescott in the basement just like he did the freezer. Wow, most incompitent butler ever. The maid then shows up and reveals that she's the inside, um, woman. This plot twist comes literally out of no-where, makes no sense, and just raises more questions. Oh yeah, she's also Marv's mom, making all those annoying "I'm the boss" conversations even more pointless than they already were.
Now both Prescott and Kevin are locked in the basement. Luckily Prescott has a cell phone, which is far too small for a cell phone from the early 90's but whatever. Rather than calling the police, Prescott lets Kevin call home. Buzz answers, and does nothing but insult his little brother and hangs up. Mr.Prescott then explains to Kevin that he never showed up with the buglars because he often naps on the job. Kevin's mom then calls the cell phone, but before Kevin can explain what's going on the phone runs out of batteries. Ms.McCallister then calls the house, where the maid tells her Kevin's not there. After calling Mr.McCallister, who says Kevin is at home, both parents realize something's going on and head for the mansion. Alright I'll give the movie this much, this scene actually makes sense. What doesn't make sense is that Kevin's siblings look rather calm as their mother races down the road, veering toward incoming traffic and nearly crashing.
After a while, Prescott remembers the dumbwaitor. He sends Kevin up the dumbwaitor. That must mean that Marv's mom must have forgotten about it too. Alright, Kevin's always left at home with to incompetent adults. This isn't home alone at all, so why is it called Home Alone 4? It should have been called "Repeatidly Left Home With Two Utterly Moronic Adults". Anyway, Kevin reaches the kitchen with the Dumbwaitor, but continues up when he hears Marv coming down the hallway. He tricks Marv into looking down the shaft, then crushes his neck with the dumbwaitor, trapping his head in. Wait, wouldn't that break his neck or something? Anyway, Marv's wife shows up and lets him out. Marv's hand gets caught as the dumbwaitor lifts up too high, showing how truely stupid these two characters are. He also knocks both criminals down with a swinging pot, which defies the laws of physics like so much in this movie does. Marv's mom then shows up and chases Kevin. He runs up the stairs as she takes the elevator. Of course, the elevator gets stuck half-way up because Kevin chained it earlier.
After a series of, um, really cheap attempts at trying to resemble Home Alone's traps, the criminals are eventually defeated with the revolving liquor cabinate. We see them lying on the ground as the organ plays music that sounds like someone died. Suddenly, Marv's mom grabs Kevin from behind, but is knocked out by Prescott before she can do anything. "Perhaps we should call the police," Prescott suggests. Yeah, maybe you should have done that in the first place. Both of Kevin's parents arrive at the same time. Marv and his wife then run toward the back door. Kevin chases them as his siblings run around the building. Somehow they reach the door before the criminals do despite the fact that they had a head start and ran relatively straight through the building. Anyway, Buzz and Megan trip Marv and his wife, who fly into a nearby tree. Yup, more baffling physics to finish off these lame crooks.
We resolve the movie with Prescott resigning, Kevin's parents re-uniting, and the royal family joining the McCallisters for christmas, leaving Natilie all alone. Oh yeah, she has another unfunny panic attack, and Kevin finishes the movie with "I knew this was going to be the best Christmas ever." Ok, so let me get this movie's message straight. If your parents are separating, all you have to do is try to ruin your dad's relationship with his new fiance and your parents will get back together? What kind of message is that? You'll just turn an already upset child into a raging maniac. As a Home Alone movie, this fails. As a family friendly movie, this fails. This movie is just one giant pile of fail. Now if you excuse me, I'm going to watch something gory to get this out of my head.
Two Word Review: Mind-bogglingly Bad
Oh by the way, Iron Man 2 is awesome. If you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and go watch it now.