Home Alone and Desperate
When it comes to the "Home Alone" movies the first two were good, the third was bad and the fourth well it comes into the category of what were they thinking. What they were thinking, or at least hoping, was that if this made for TV movie was popular it would be a springboard for a "Home Alone" TV series, it wasn't popular and we didn't get the series. But even when you understand why they made "Home Alone 4" it doesn't disguise how desperate it is, characters from the first two movies including Kevin McCallister return but we have all new actors and a storyline which whilst trying to be slightly different also desperately tries to imitate those first two movies. It simply doesn't work and the most entertaining thing about "Home Alone 4" ends up a gadget filled house.
With his parents divorcing Kevin McCallister (Mike Weinberg) is finding the first Christmas without his dad tough especially with Buzz (Gideon Jacobs) making life miserable for him. So knowing that his dad Peter (Jason Beghe) and his new girlfriend Natalie (Joanna Going) would be happy for him to stay at Natalie's swanky mansion he decides to make his own way their and all is well as Natalie spoils him rotten and he has no one to bully him. That is until he spots Marv (French Stewart - Broken Arrow) and new partner Vera (Missi Pyle - Just My Luck) lurking by the gates and realises that once again he is going to have to stop Marv from what ever nefarious plan he is up to.
In many ways "Home Alone 4" is just a list of mistakes starting with the fact that we have the McCallister's back but different actors playing the roles and sadly none of them are as good as the originals. It also doesn't help when you also have age issues because we have Buzz McCallister who in "Home Alone 2" was an older teenager yet here he seems to have got younger. Throw in also the return of Marv but with French Stewart taking on the role when Daniel Stern turned down the movie and it all feels very wrong. In a way you sort of feel sorry for Mike Weinberg who plays Kevin because he could never do what Macauley Culkin did and so ends up feeling not even a poor copy despite actually doing a nice job of playing a little kid. Although the scenes which intentionally having him copying what Culkin did, such as singing in the shower and watching old movies do not work at all.
Things don't get much better when it comes to the actual storyline because Kevin's parents have split up and Peter is living with Natalie in her swanky, fully automated and fully loaded mansion. It again feels desperate because all it does is give Kevin a different house to run around and whilst there is mention of Kevin finding it hard that his parents are divorcing it adds no real meaning. Although it does give us one positive and that is Erick Avari as Prescott the butler as Avari gives us almost a Tim Curry style scariness to the character and it is amusing.
Of course what the real story is about is Kevin stopping Marv and his new partner Vera from their nefarious plans and this time it's not robbery but kidnapping because Natalie is entertaining a Royal family for Christmas, the less said about the Royal family idea the better. But again it all feels very desperate and frankly unimaginative as we have only a handful of booby traps that Kevin concocts to stop Marv and Vera plus an accomplice on the inside. It all ends up very ordinary and the potential of a house full of gadgets is never exploited like it should have been.
What this all boils down to is that "Home Alone 4" is very bad and is really one big mistake. My advice is if you enjoyed the first two movies don't watch the third and definitely don't watch the fourth because they are simply poor.