With the box-office success of Home Alone – a Christmas movie written and produced by John Hughes about a bratty kid getting trapped at home with two burglars, it’s no surprise why it got its own sequel, despite it not needing one. After all, how can you continue a story of a kid who just beat home burglars and make it more interesting? A repetition of the first film would be tiring, no one would watch a movie about Kevin doing chores with his family. The solution in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is quite ingenious: Kevin is not actually home alone but lost in New York City.
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The Movie Review
Christmas season is here again, and the McCallisters are planning another holiday vacation, this time to Miami, Florida. While he does reach the airport with his family, Kevin gets separated from the rest of them and finds himself on a flight to New York City!
Eventually, Kevin will soon discover that he is not only alone in a huge city, despite having a beautiful suite at the Plaza, but that he will also be reunited with his adversaries Harry Lime and Marv Merchants, who are plotting a toy store robbery. Kevin has devised a plan to eliminate the bandits once and for all by employing traps in order to save Duncan’s Toy Chest.
The Home Alone franchise quickly got its second installment two years after the first, inviting director Chris Columbus and writer John Hughes for the second time. Composer John Williams also returns to make the soundtrack for Home Alone 2, which is just as magical and light-hearted as the previous one.
Apparently, Hughes already finished writing the second installment after the release of Home Alone, a movie that grossed almost $500 million worldwide. That shows how much they rushed to make this film by replicating its old formula, and how desperate they were to get more profit out of this.
To be fair, New York is actually a refreshing setting for this sequel, and there are elements in the movie that are better than Home Alone. The film heavily relies on New York City, with the traps serving as the main hook for viewers.
The performances are outstanding. In practically every film he’s appeared in, Macaulay Culkin exudes charm. As usual, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are funny. As the parents, Catherine O’Hara and John Heard are great and I wish they had a sequel where they showed up more. Tim Curry delivers a funny portrayal as The Concierge. The hotel bathroom scene and the workers being held captive by television were some of my favorite parts. Eddie Bracken and Brenda Fricker both make appearances, and their sequences of camaraderie and acceptance are heartwarming.
Although everything that happens is entertaining enough, I can’t help but feel like I’m watching the same film. Kevin’s family is separated from him, he watches gangster movies and scares intruders with corny dialogue, and fools others into thinking he’s with grownups by using silhouettes. He was also terrified by his creepy neighbor in the first film, but this time he’s terrified of a creepy homeless woman here.
While Home Alone was far from realistic, you start to notice how many things don’t make sense in Home Alone 2. How could the McCallisters forget their son all the time, and how did Kevin bump into the same robbers again?
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York City doesn’t beat its predecessor but I’d definitely binge it during Christmas. Despite the fact that it is probably a little too long and repetitive, it all works and is enjoyable. The slapstick sequences are written well, and there’s a great touch of sentimentality in there that wasn’t really present before. Overall, this sequel isn’t a total loss thanks to the performances of the cast and the laughs throughout, so I wasn’t disappointed by it.