Sunday, December 4, 2016

Christmas Movie Marathon Day 9

           I'm trying something different to get in the holiday spirit this year. Every day, from now through Christmas, I will be watching a different Christmas movie or television special. I have compiled the list of features ahead of time and am drawing one, at random, from my Christmas stocking everyday to determine what gets watched. Thank you for joining me in this endeavor. What's behind curtain number 9?

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

           Oh boy... It was always a possibility that we could draw this film before the first in the series. I had thought of taking steps to prevent this but, in the end, I decided that this could be part of the fun. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is one of only a handful of films on the list that I saw during its initial release. Important to bear in mind with that statement is the fact that I would have only been 7 years old at the time that I saw this in theaters. Even at that young and impressionable age, I found Home Alone 2 rather underwhelming.
           The plot to Home Alone 2 is largely the plot to the first film only set in New York instead of Kevin's house and home town. The characters are largely the same and so are the story beats. If you aren't too familiar with the original Home Alone this may not be obvious but keep checking back as we will get to the original eventually. I haven't seen this movie since that day 24 years ago and I really haven't had much of a desire to. I mostly remember it as disappointing and derivative.


           Home Alone 2 opens with the whole McCallister clan at Kevin's family's house gathering in advance of another family Christmas trip. This time to sunny Florida. Kevin is incredulous with this as Florida isn't appropriately seasonal enough. We are alerted that the events of the first film supposedly happened the previous Christmas. Like last time, Kevin again ends up at odds with his family. The family again oversleeps and has to rush to the airport. Kevin makes it to the airport but becomes separated while digging for batteries for his Talkboy (a product that this movie created specifically to be marketable to kids) in his dad's bag. He follows a man with a similar coat to his father's and through stretches in logic ends up on a flight to New York rather that his family's flight to Florida.
           Kevin uses his dad's credit card and cash as well as the Talkboy to book himself a hotel room and seems to be getting on quite well. Unfortunately, Harry and Marv, the crooks from the first film, have escaped from prison and end up in New York as well. And since that is already a super likely occurrence, they of course run in to Kevin and try to get revenge. Kevin escapes their clutches but not before they reveal their scheme to rob from a toy store that donates all of their Christmas Eve sales to a local children's hospital. Kevin's duplicity is discovered by the hotel and he is forced to flee. A talk with a homeless bird lady makes him realize that he has done numerous bad things and he decides to stop the crooks plot.

Our current President-Elect had a cameo in Home Alone 2.  Not really relevant, it just made me sad to see him.

           Making use of the house of an aunt and uncle of his who conveniently live in New York and, even more conveniently, are out of the country while their house is under renovation, Kevin sets some of his trademark traps. He then heads to the toy store where the robbery is taking place. He breaks the window to set off the alarm and gets the crooks to follow him back to the house. After hitting them with numerous traps that in reality would have straight up murdered them, Kevin eventually tips off the police and leads the crooks towards Central Park. However, Kevin slips on some ice and the crooks get the upper hand on him. A last minute intervention by the bird lady saves the day and the crooks are caught. Kevin is reunited with his mother at Rockefeller Plaza and has learned a lesson about loving his family (again).

This isn't the kind of injury one walks away from.

Final Thoughts

           So, Home Alone 2 is just as derivative as I remembered it to be. Although, since this time I went in with that expectation it couldn't hurt me as much as it did at age 7. There are things that work out pretty well. Tim Curry's performance as the concierge is fun in how over the top it is. Rob Schneider as the bellhop is enjoyable for much the opposite reason; it is one of his most reigned in roles. There is also a lot that doesn't work. The Talkboy deserves some sort of award for innovations in product placement since it didn't exist before the movie, but was available for sale the same day the film released. Also, the movie asks the viewer to make far too many leaps of logic. The convenience of the crooks from the first movie not only escaping but also winding up in the same area as Kevin again stretches credulity to the breaking point. And then we get to the traps. I know the first film had some traps that were toned down in terms of the violence that would result were they real, but the sequel takes it to the extreme. Marv takes four bricks to the head thrown from the third story, and Harry has his head lit on fire and attempts to extinguish it in a toilet full of kerosene. Neither of them is killed by these actions. This would work in a cartoon but seems jarring in a live action movie.

They might as well have stopped the film and put up the price and Tiger Electronics logo.
           In the end, would I recommend this film? No, I would not. Though, at the same time, I don't find it as worthy of my hate as I once did. It isn't good but neither is it so bad that I would complain if it was on in the background somewhere. It is even possible that, if it happened to be on television on a particularly slow Saturday, I could see myself watching it again. Overall though, I feel safe in saying that you would be far better off sticking with the original Home Alone. Those are all the words I care to spend on this one. See you tomorrow.

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