Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is left home alone after his parents accidentally forget him when they fly to France for Christmas. Whilst having to come to terms with his abandonment Kevin finds that he must also fight to protect his family home from the grasp of two idiotic thieves. All this and he has to decipher the washing machine too.
Bought to life by the child-friendly John Hughes (writer of such classics as Beethoven, Uncle Buck and The Great Outdoors) and director Chris Columbus (best known for numerous Harry Potters, the festive Gremlins as well as The Goonies), Home Alone features countless gags and scenes that centre around the innocence of childhood. Faced with a house empty of his numerous siblings for the first time in his life Kevin does what most 8 year-olds would do in his situation; after calling out to make doubly sure no one is home he raids the freezer and lounges in front of the TV accompanied by a mound of ice cream.
His carefree activities are soon jeopardised when bumbling crooks Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) make an appearance. Conveniently having planned to raid Kevin’s street whilst its inhabitants are largely away for the holidays, the duo threaten the tranquillity being Home Alone offers to Kevin. Approaching the encroaching danger head-on, Kevin manages to rig his family home with countless safeguards against the idiotic intruders. Although some of these are clearly way too advanced, they nonetheless lay the foundations for some very entertaining, if hugely childish, scenes.
Blockbuster Home Alone has all the ingredients that make for a great kids’ film; there’s the right level of fear imposed by the burglars, there’s the creepy next door neighbour who feeds the children’s viscous speculations but, most importantly, it includes a hugely likeable character in the guise of Culkin’s Kevin. For all of the burglar’s humorous mishaps it is, unquestionably, Culkin who steals the show. Although his part largely consists of screaming at camera, the magic he weaved into the 80’s classic Uncle Buck is bought to the fore here. John Candy’s small part in the film manages to pay homage to the film in which the idea for Home Alone was germinated and although, much like in Uncle Buck, Candy is a delight he unfortunately isn’t given enough screen time here.
The wisecracks that Culkin produces are well-timed and even better executed. Pushing parents to the background, Home Alone explores the pros and cons of having your wishes come true and what happens when some very un-pro conmen appear at you doorstep.
Best line: Kevin: ‘When I grow up and get married I’m living alone.’
Best performance: Culkin as Kevin.
Watch this if you liked: Mrs. Doubtfire, Hook, The Burbs