To be fair, this review must admit to being one of those not enjoying the original “HOME ALONE” film, however, in spite of universally scathing reviews, did find “HOME ALONE 3” to be moderately entertaining. While the film followed the standard, predictable “HOME ALONE” pratfalls, Director Raja Gosnell still managed to make it stand out with a style of its own.
With “HOME ALONE 4” is confidently directed by Rod Daniel, and he’s proven his ability to add some sense of creativity to sequels before, with his effort in the “BEETHOVEN” series. While “HOME ALONE 4” isn’t quite as endearing as HOME ALONE 3”, there’s still enough laughs and charm to it for the whole family to enjoy.
Kevin McAllister may not be the perfect clone for a young Macaulay Culkin, but he handles the signature slapping of hands against his face of the character well enough. What’s immediately harder to accept is the replacement for Kevin’s dad. Jason Beghe’s actually a fine actor, but having him replace John Heard, gives the film a far different tone than conveyed in the first two films. This time, Kevin is intent on saving his parents’ marriage, in the middle of a divorce, by spending part of vacation with both of them. His father has a rich girlfriend, and while staying at her house, finds that it’s a state-of-the-art “panic room” style protection layout. She’s well connected, so of course, has a prince coming to visit. This opens the door for a trio of kidnappers, one of whom is supposed to be the longtime burglar adversary of Kevin from the first two films, originally played by Daniel Stern, but now played (surprisingly well) by Stewart French. Of course, the high-tech gadgetry within the home allows for plenty of slapstick tainted with cartoon-like violent humor, ala(3 stooges), and there’ enough warm-heartedness in a sub-plot to make this entry an endearing one, even if not as good as thoroughly entertaining as its predecessor(s).
While the film was originally made for television, FOX has given it a high-quality presentation. To begin with, “HOME ALONE 4” is presented in letterbox format, with 16:9 enhancement. The colors are solid, and even vibrant at times. The detail is impressive, and allows for the film’s elaborate production design to be appreciated. Contrast is fine, offering better-than-average depth in darker scenes. Fleshtones appear natural.
FOX has presented a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for this release. It’s not an aggressive mix, but then, neither were any of the previous films in the series. Discrete effects come into play to boost some comedic moments, and while they work, the humor stands on its own. Separation is most noticeable in terms of the musical score, well complimented throughout the film. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.