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Marking the sixth movie spun out of the premise since Macauley Culkin first defended his home from “bad guys” back in 1990, the movie tweaks the concept slightly by casting the invaders as an ordinary couple, played by Ellie Kemper and Rob Delaney. Grudgingly forced to sell their house for financial reasons, they discover that an inherited doll could be extremely valuable, which might spare them from having to move.
So yes, Max is left to fulfill every child’s fantasy by fending off adults with all of his self-generated gadgets and gizmos. This time, though, the victims of all those pratfalls, bumps and bruises are a seemingly ordinary couple, other than their extraordinarily bad judgment and ability to weather a lot of physical punishment.
At its core, naturally, the movie is about exalting the importance of family, and teaching all concerned to appreciate those near and dear to them.
The casting, however, mostly squanders some very funny people, which in addition to the leads include supporting players Kenan Thompson as the couple’s realtor, Pete Holmes and Tim Simons.
“Home Alone,” notably, came into the Disney fold through its 2019 acquisition of Fox’s entertainment assets, and despite its cartoonish qualities, the slightly sadistic nature of the original John Hughes-scripted story isn’t exactly a perfect fit with the Disney+ brand.
Just because something features kids, in other words, doesn’t necessarily make it ideal Disney fare. And just because “Home Sweet Home Alone” finally seeks to sweetly remind us about the importance of family during the holidays doesn’t mean it’s a slam-dunk choice when seeking an option to kill roughly 90 minutes with yours.
“Home Sweet Home Alone” premieres Nov. 12 on Disney+.
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