Everyone’s heard of the wacky adventures of Kevin McCallister and the traps he set up for the Wet (a.k.a. Sticky) Bandits in Home Alone and Home Alone 2. It is a Christmas tradition to sit down by the Christmas tree and watch the hilarious hijinks of a child accidentally left on his own and the chaos that ensues. The first two films in the Home Alone Franchise are unquestionably classics, but what of the third? Did you even know there was a Home Alone 3? There is – and it’s magnificent.
At first glance, Home Alone 3 looks like a cash grab trying to bank on the success of the first two films, with an entirely different cast including a new child lead. It’s fair to assume this at first glance. After all, there’s plenty of low-quality schlock being churned out during the holidays (just look up “Christmas” on Netflix). However, the old adage to never judge a book by its cover rings true for films as well, and after several years of enjoying the first three Home Alone films (there are two more as yet untested by me), I can state candidly that Home Alone 3 may be my favorite of the bunch.
Our story begins with Alex Pruitt, a young boy with a penchant for Rube Goldberg devices who’s stuck home with the chickenpox. Being the only one home in his neighborhood during work and school hours, Alex notices patterns of suspicious behavior performed by mysterious strangers while everyone else is away. When calling the police multiple times proves unsuccessful, Alex is determined to take the protection of his neighborhood block into his own hands. The rest, as they say, is history.
Home Alone 3 has multiple points in its favor, but one of the strongest is definitely its lead. Our hero, Alex (played by Alex D. Linz), is a truly wonderful character. With the perfect blend of ingenuity and childish charm, Alex is a joy to follow from start to finish. While there’s plenty of relatable humor to be found in Kevin McAllister’s misbehavior and dysfunctional slip-ups with his extended family, it’s refreshing to see a boy who’s working so hard not only for his own safety, but to protect those he loves as well. Watching the montage of Alex setting up his traps while “My Town” by Cartoon Boyfriend plays in the background never fails to get me pumped up.
But enough of the plot. Let’s get to what we’re all really here for: the traps. Do they live up to the legacy of the last two movies? ABSOLUTELY. Whereas in the previous films we had two villains to get a can of whoop ass opened upon, in Home Alone 3 there are four with means twice the fun and twice the pain. The humor is primarily slapstick focused and the results are pure gold. Many times the traps will be multi-layered, with initial pitfalls being bait so that the villains will step blindly into the primary trap. You never know what to expect next, which makes each disaster all the more entertaining. Thanks to most of the traps relying on practical effects as opposed to CGI, the film has held up impressively despite being over 20 years old at this point. Besides a few seconds of green screen cuts, everything looks like it’s actually happening, so viewers remain immersed in each and every second of this wild ride.
A short aside for parents: In regards to being family-friendly, I would say Home Alone 3 fits the bill. There are a few scenes and pranks involving showers, but nothing truly graphic is shown. Also, the fact that Alex attempts to contact the police, always works to obey the law to the best of his abilities and has a loving, supportive relationship with both his parents makes him an excellent role model.
If you’re a fan of the original Home Alone movies and didn’t know there was more fun to be had, I give my highest recommendation to Home Alone 3. It’s plenty of fun for the entire family and will be enjoyed by all ages “one to ninety-two”. You can buy Home Alone 3 for as low as $5 or rent it directly on Amazon. It’s also sold as a set with the first two films if you don’t happen to own them yet and would like to binge the entire trilogy. Doing some last minute shopping and unsure what to get a friend or loved one? Home Alone 3 is an excellent stocking stuffer. The next time you’re in the mood to watch a light-hearted Christmas flick with the entire family, be sure to give this movie a try.
Until next time, have a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year!