Alex D. Linz as Alex Pruitt in Home Alone 3 (1997)

Two's Company Three's a Mistake

"Home Alone 3" is a movie of mistakes and the main one is that it should never have been packaged as part of the "Home Alone" movies. There is no Macauley Culkin, no McCallister's and no Harry and Marv and it is this combination which made a "Home Alone" movie just that. In fact whilst John Hughes has given us another story which sees a young child taking on some bad guys with a series of cunning booby traps it would have been more acceptable by being called something else. But that is just one of a variety of issues which make "Home Alone 3" a seriously inferior movie.

When a group of criminals hide a military computer chip in a remote control car to get it through customs they never expect their bags to be accidentally switched. But that is what happens when Mrs. Hess (Marian Seldes - Mona Lisa Smile) picks up the wrong bag and ends up giving the remote control car to her neighbour Alex Pruitt (Alex D. Linz - One Fine Day) who is off school with a virus. But the criminals track down Mrs. Hess and soon realise that someone on the street where she lives now has the remote controlled car. When Alex observes these 4 baddies acting suspiciously and breaking into homes he decides it is up to him not only to defend his home but stop them and sets a series of booby traps to try and stop them.

Scarlett Johansson as Molly Pruitt in Home Alone 3 (1997)

So as already mentioned "Home Alone 3" isn't a continuation to the story of the McCallister's and in reality isn't even an off-shoot. Instead we are introduced to a new family, a new young child and some new bad guys who basically want a military chip which has been hidden in a toy car and ended up in the possession of young Alex Pruitt. But whilst a completely unconnected family what follows pretty much imitates what happened in the original as young Alex is sick and so off school and left at home on his own whilst his parents work. And so when he realises through a series of contrived circumstances that there are a group of burglars at work in his street decides to defend his home and those around him.

There is no hiding the disappointment that "Home Alone 3" is so unconnected to the original movies and as I mentioned would probably have worked better if it hadn't been called "Home Alone 3". But it also has other problems and in Alex Pruitt you have a kid whose cuteness goes too far and becomes painfully annoying. To make matters worse this young child seems so adept at working with technology and tools that it becomes beyond stupid when he starts setting up the booby traps and uses a camcorder attached to a remote control car to monitor what the baddies are up to. Maybe younger audiences will just enjoy the whole fantasy aspect of young Alex outsmarting a group of baddies but for adults it's so contrived, more so than the original "Home Alone" movies, that it almost becomes crass.

Of course like its predecessors "Home Alone 3" is all about the comedy of the booby traps and Alex out smarting adult baddies but to be honest it's not that funny. Part of the trouble is that the 4 new baddies lack the presence which Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern had as Harry and Marv and most certainly don't deliver the same sense of slapstick which they achieved. And that means when they become a victim of one of Alex's traps the comedy of it all is missing. But there is also the element that whilst there are some new traps it all feels very familiar and for those who have watched Kevin McAllsiter deliver sadistic punishment in the first 2 "Home Alone" movies will find all of this a little inept, repetitive and as already mentioned very unbelievable.

Now to be honest Alex D. Linz is a cute kid, there is not much you can do about that, but the cuteness of him in "Home Alone 3" borders on the excruciating and it is too much. But Alex is not the only casting problem as on top of the lack of comic timing when it comes to the baddies it seems that Haviland Morris who plays Alex's mother seems to have been chosen because she looks very similar to Catherine O'Hara. It's just very wrong and along with Marian Seldes who plays the mean Mrs. Hess it just feels like it's trying too hard to imitate the characters we have seen before. The one bright spot is that there is a young Scarlett Johansson cast as Molly, Alex's sister and whilst it's not a performance to write home about it is amusing to see the young Scarlett Johansson in a "Home Alone" movie.

What this all boils down to is that "Home Alone 3" really is a mistake and a mistake on so many levels. From being called a "Home Alone" movie through to it basically recycling what we've seen before with just a new cast and characters it is simply wrong. There is little about it which is that good and whilst I am sure younger audiences who watch this without having seen the original will enjoy the comedy, for anyone who has seen Kevin McCallister take on Harry and Marv will find it a lack lustre experience.

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