It was a pleasure to be a part of the John Hughes Blogathon over at Cinema Parrot Disco. I missed out on the chance to review some of Hughes’ best movies, but even some of his less known work deserves credit to. Here is the second of my two reviews for the JHB, Home Alone 3.
run time: 102 mins
considered: Action, Comedy, Crime
starring: Alex D. Linz, Marian Seldes, Olek Krupa, Rya Kihlstedt, Lenny von Dohlen, David Thornton, Kevin Kilner, Haviland Morris, Scarlett Johansson
movie summary: It has been a few years since Kevin McAllister was left home alone, only to prevent two burglars from robbing his house, fast forward about six years and a similar situation develops in another Chicago suburb. Alex Pruitt (Alex D. Linz) is home sick for the next few weeks with the chicken pox. His next door neighbor Mrs. Hess (Marian Seldes) has just returned home from San Francisco and accidentially got her luggage switched at the airport, so she ends up with someone’s bag that has a brand new toy race car in it. She gives it to Alex as payment for shoveling her driveway, but little does she know that four mastermind international criminals are looking for the toy car and are coming to find her.
Petr Beaupre (Olek Krupa), Alice Ribbons (Rya Kihlstedt), Burton Jernigan (Lenny von Dohlen), and Earl Unger (David Thornton) travel from the west coast to the mid-west to find Alex’s neighborhood. They buy a house at the end of the street and begin to scout the neighborhood before breaking into homes during the day to find the bag. Alex’s dad Jack (Kevin Kilner) flies away for a business trip while his mom Karen (Haviland Morris) works from home and runs errands for a few hours each day. On the first day Alex is left alone he spots Beaupre lurking inside a house across the street so he calls the cops. After the cops search the house and find no signs of a break in they get disappointed that Alex called in a false alarm. The very next day Alex spots Beaupre in another house so calls 911 again. His mom gets very upset with him as the police chief explains the severity of Alex’s recent prank calls. Alex is grounded up in his room with his pet mouse Doris who is the only one that believes him.
His mom heads out the next day for work and should only be a couple of hours which gives Alex enough time to set up a video camera on the toy race car. He drives the car into the house where Beaupre breaks into and catches him in the act. Beaupre realizes the toy car is what he is looking for so he radios the three others to chase down the car. Amazingly all four of them stumble their way through the neighborhood yards only to come up empty-handed. Beaupre figures that the car belongs to a kid in one of the few houses he hasn’t searched yet, so the group targets Alex’s house and plan one final break in.
Alex gets up real early and ushers his mom off to work before assuring her that he’s going to be ok all alone for the afternoon. He begins to set up traps all over the house, at every point of entry, and in the back yard swimming pool. Beaupre and the gang ascend on the house and run into trouble at every turn. Within a few minutes everyone has either been electrocuted, knocked out, tarred, feathered, sprayed painted, burnt, or shot. Despite all the trouble just to get into the house they continue until they get inside and can’t find Alex. He is upstairs watching the events unfold on tv before escaping down the in-house elevator. The guys get upstairs into Alex’s room only to see him running away, so decide to jump out the window onto the trampoline that was covering the swimming pool. Alice falls down the elevator shaft while Beaupre manages to get away and head over to Mrs. Hess’ house to kidnap her. Alex finds her and rescues her when Beaupre threatens to kill him if he doesn’t give up the race car. He pulls a gun on Alex who reaches into his backpack and pulls out a gun of his own. During the standoff, sirens can be heard in the distance which leaves little time for Beaupre to get what he came after and for Alex to prove he wasn’t lying about the break-ins.
my thoughts: Home Alone 3 is the first movie in the series that didn’t feature McCauley Culkin as the lead character. The franchise had to move on without its star and create a new set of heroes and villains which are disappointing. Instead of two small time house robbers, this home alone kid has to deal with some not so bright international thieves who are looking for a computer chip that can control nuclear weapons.
Alex D. Linz is a funny kid who has big shoes to fill in the lead role and manages to pull it off quiet admirably. He copies some of the tricks used in the first two films but has many gadgets to expand his arsenal to stop the bad guys. The toughest part for all the characters in this story is that audiences have already seen this story played out before and know exactly how it is going to end. In an attempt to keep audience engaged, the computer chip storyline was presented to add some real life drama, even though it is highly unreasonable that some kid will be able to stop highly trained criminals from getting what they want.
This movie sadly lacks the charm from the previous ones but that never stopped my grandmother from absolutely loving this movie. She would watch Home Alone 3 every holiday season and just laugh at how Alex would outsmart these guys again and again. I haven’t watched this movie since she passed away in 2012 and when I saw it was still available for the John Hughes blogathon on Cinema Parrot Disco, I thought it was be fitting to finally watch it again and remember one of the many things that made her laugh.
my star rating: 3 out 10