1997 / Director. Raja Gosnell.
Lately I've been revisiting a lot of sequels that I think have been hard doneby and unfairly criticised. HOME ALONE 3 is one that definitely got the shit end of the stick. Understandably it was always going to be held up against the first two movies and, of course, they were fantastic family movies. Originally John Hughes wrote the script at the same time as the previous one and had hoped to make it back-to-back. When plans fell through, partly due to Macaulay Culkin going in another direction, the script was re-worked and a new kid was introduced. This was one of the main criticisms but as far as I'm concerned, this boy (Alex) is the movie's anchor. I watched it with my kids over the weekend and we all agreed that he so much better than the Kevin McAllister kid from the original. Alex Linz embraces the character and gives the film an adorable hook. He's sweet and mischievous and not nearly as precocious as Kevin. The story has him home alone with chicken-pox while his mother is called into work. Having accidentally received a radio control toy car with a top-secret microchip inside it, Alex finds himself fending off 4 international thieves desperate to secure the chip. The film lacks the wonderful bumbling burglar characters that Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern gave life to, but the movie makes up for it with a clever kid, inventive booby traps and hilarious pratfalls falls. I remember Roger Ebert declared HOME ALONE 3 to be better than the other two and his quote even made it to the poster. I wouldn't go that far but there's no doubt its an overlooked movie worthy of more attention. It's a perfectly good instalment with all of the charm and charisma of the earlier adventures and an even more likable child protagonist. It's hard not to love this kid. John Hughes' script is signature to his later-career stylings and maintains the quality of his late 90s films. Perhaps watch it on its own and free your mind of Macaulay Culkin. You might find that it's better than you remember. A sure winner with kids (which is all that really matters).