Runtime: 1 hr 45 min
MPAA Rating: PG
Director: Chris Columbus
Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Alex D. Linz, Mike Weinberg
Culkin displays a wide range of acting emotions.
Review by: SteveRhodes
Added: 7 years ago
"When I grow up and get married, I'm going to live alone," Kevin McCallister decides after being alternately ignored and ridiculed by a household full of his siblings and cousins. Rebelliously, he wishes he'd never see his family again and that he'd be home alone. As the old adage goes, be careful what you wish for lest you get it and, by implication, loathe it. Kevin will soon be alone, very alone, but he will end up loving it. Even when disaster looms eminent, he will rise to the occasion, relishing the opportunity to utilize simple household items to defend his home.
In 1990, MRS. DOUBTFIRE's director Chris Columbus, brought out the first in the extremely popular HOME ALONE series. Starring Macaulay Culkin in his first big role, the movie was a hit for its slapstick humor as well as the age-old theme of a kid who bests the grown-ups.
(The problem with your kids' watching movie series is that it is not always easy to start them with the first episode. Although we were able to show our son, Jeffrey, the Bond and the STAR WARS series in order, he got out of sequence on HOME ALONE, seeing the first one last.)
Two sets of McCallister families head to Paris for their big trip. In one of the movie's best scenes Kevin's parents, while aloft, figure that they forgot something, but can't determine what it could it be - perhaps they left the garage door open says the dad (John Heard). We've all had that experience but few have had the dilemma facing them, they forgot a child - Kevin (Culkin). It was a simple matter of a bad headcount on the airport shuttle and, what with the commotion of leaving, etc., they didn't notice Kevin's absence.
Rather than panicking, as his parents do when they realize what has happened, Kevin decides he is in hog heaven. He starts doing all of those things that under normal circumstances he would be absolutely forbidden to do. Watching "rubbish" on TV while feasting on mountains of ice cream is but one of his many sinful pleasures.
Culkin displays a wide range of acting emotions. One minute he's a hellion, and the next he's an angel. He is especially cute hamming it up in front of the mirror. Looking brave, wise, and yet vulnerable, Culkin is perfect for the role. Imaginative, Kevin turns on all the lights, cranks up the stereo, and moves cardboard cutouts on his electric train to make his house look chockfull of adults.
Using relentlessly upbeat Christmas music by STAR WARS's John Williams, the movie contrasts the joyous holiday season with the less than ideal situation in which Kevin and his parents find themselves.
In the midst of the comedy is a well-acted subplot of an old man who no longer talks to his grown son because they lost their tempers at each other years ago. A sagacious Kevin gives him advice in a touching scene in church.
Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, playing two bumbling burglars, set their sights on robbing the McCallister house. Although the two robbers are central to the storyline, the movie is at its best when they are nowhere to be seen. They cause the sweet, original movie to dissolve into cheap slapstick that you've seen many times before.
Kevin defends his home from them with everything from blowtorches to carefully laid nails. Mainly the two robbers fall one minute and get knocked on the head the next, ad nauseam. A little of Stern and Pesci goes a long way, and HOME ALONE has them in almost every scene in the last half of the movie. Too bad Kevin's adversaries had to be so terminally stupid - the rest of the picture isn't.
HOME ALONE runs 1:45. It is rated PG for comic violence and would be fine for most kids.