Home Alone is now considered a Christmas classic, although many don’t remember that, at the time, it received a lukewarm (at best) reception from critics. As a Christmas film, there isn’t really much in it that is related to Christmas. Sure, they have a bit of Christmas related dialogue and a moral that fits with it, but apart from that, it’s an oddly mean-spirited film. With that said, however, Home Alone seems to be a film a lot of people take out at Christmas time. And there’s no denying that, while it may seem dated and corny now, it’s a whole lot of fun to watch.
Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) has a very large family, and he is often ignored by his parents and relatives and bullied by his older siblings. As they prepare to go to Paris for Christmas, Kevin gets angry at one of his relatives, prompting his mother to make him sleep in the attic. During this, Kevin wishes that his family would just ‘go away’. Due to a head count mistake, the family forget him and Kevin gets his wish granted. However, two robbers, Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern), made plans to break into the house while the family were away. Kevin decides that he is the defender of the house now and sets up a series of traps to drive the robbers away.
It seems that the late John Hughes, writer of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty in Pink, and Weird Science, wasn’t going for a deep story of complex narrative with Home Alone. And in that case, it works quite well. Culkin’s performance is acceptable for most of the way through, and he even has a few cool one-liners. It shows that a film is considered a classic when everyone knows what happens. The family leaves, robbers try to break in, boy sets up traps and stops the burglars. It’s a prime example of a 3-act structure, and that’s one thing you can take away from it.
Home Alone is nothing particularly special, but it does do what it’s supposed to. It provides cheap laughs from Tom and Jerry style slapstick. Granted, it’s nothing on Tom and Jerry, but slapstick always works better in cartoons. The performances from Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are great, and are a ton of fun to watch. Actually, those are the words to describe this film. A ton of fun.