The sequel to Home Alone follows the old adage, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. There is very little that is new about Home Alone 2 and you can draw direct comparisons between both movies but somehow, the film manages to improve on what has gone before without changing too much in the process.
It is testament to the writing of John Hughes that he feasibly manages to get Macauley Culkin’s Kevin McCallister lost again. He isn’t left at home this time but finds himself alone in New York. Somehow, the way he finds himself in this situation doesn’t seem too ridiculous and is presented in a realistic and almost believable way – for the mid-nineties at least.
Once Kevin is lost in New York, not much really differs from the first movie. Instead of Home Alone, he is alone in a posh hotel room. He finds himself being able to eat and do whatever he likes, much at the in-credulousness of the hotel staff. That in itself is a great addition to the series, with the staff led by a suitably slimy Tim Curry and a strangely weird Rob Schneider.
All the most popular moments from the first film return. The use of the black and white gangster film to trick the adults is used to better effect in this film. Rather than a menacing man with a shovel, we have a pigeon loving homeless lady and of course, we have the return of the two bungling thieves.
The first film was almost stolen completely by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as the incompetent thieves and this movie is no different. The two return in full, stupid glory, with a ridiculous plan ready to be foiled by the ten-year old Culkin. It takes a little bit of suspension of disbelief to get the two men into another house of pranks and horrors but when the paint cans and bags of flour start falling, you soon forget the movies short-comings.
The secret to the film’s success is that it takes everything that works in the first movie and turns it up to 11. The stakes are higher, the pranks are worse and the heart-felt moments seem to mean so much more. With the benefit of hindsight, the movie manages to repeat the success of the first.
Familiarity can be a movie’s worse enemy and as great as Home Alone 2 is, the film can’t quite live up to the originality of the first. The story is stretched to it’s credible breaking point and you will question some of the moments and decisions this supposedly intelligent young boy makes – for example, call the police!
Overall, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York successfully repeats the best elements of the first film. The stakes are higher, the setting is bigger and the traps, tricks and pranks even funnier. Macauley Culkin reprises his role effortlessly but the film belongs to the slapstick talents of Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. Not quite as good as the first but very close.
Rating – 4.5
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)