'Home Sweet Home Alone': Does the new Disney+ movie link to the 1990s classic?

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Watch: Trailer for Home Sweet Home Alone

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Home Alone is back. Disney gave the green light to a franchise reboot soon after acquiring the keys to the McCallister house during the purchase of 20th Century Fox in 2019. 

But rather than deliver a straight remake, the new film is a sequel set in the present day, featuring an entirely different family and a brand new diminutive home security enthusiast in the shape of Jojo Rabbit actor Archie Yates.

Yates plays Max, who is unwittingly left behind by his family when they jet off to Tokyo for Christmas. He must defend his home from married couple Pam and Jeff (Ellie Kemper and Rob Delaney), who believe that Max has nicked a priceless doll from them during an open house event. As is usually the case with Home Alone, slapstick hijinks ensue and lots of people fall over.

Read more: Movies that are basically the same as Home Alone

The movie is arriving on Disney+ on 12 November as part of the Disney+ Day celebrations and is a flagship part of the streamer's festive output. But will it become a Christmas classic in the same way as the first film? And does it reference the original at all?

Does Home Sweet Home Alone link to the original?

Archie Yates steps into the shoes of Macaulay Culkin for festive comedy 'Home Sweet Home Alone'. (20th Century Studios/Disney+)
Archie Yates steps into the shoes of Macaulay Culkin for festive comedy 'Home Sweet Home Alone'. (20th Century Studios/Disney+)

Home Sweet Home Alone tells an entirely separate story to the other movies in the franchise. Max and his family are not connected to the McCallisters and the new home invaders have nothing to do with the Wet Bandits — Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern).

There are, however, numerous references to the first film throughout the story, including some nods to the slapstick stunts of Chris Columbus's film. A desperate snow dive in the new movie is very similar to Joe Pesci's after his head is burned by a blow torch. There's also a moment in which a young character appears to mimic Culkin's famous screaming pose

Read more: Macaulay Culkin wants Donald Trump removed from Home Alone 2

The most explicit linkage drawn between past and present, though, is in the presence of Devin Ratray, as glimpsed in the movie's trailer. He reprises the role of Kevin's brother, Buzz McCallister, from the first and second films in the original franchise. (Gideon Jacobs also played the character in the mostly forgotten 2002 sequel Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House.) 

In the new movie, Buzz is a police officer called to the scene of the home invasion by Max.

Devin Ratray's return as Buzz for 'Home Sweet Home Alone' was revealed in the film's trailer. (20th Century Studios/Disney+)
Devin Ratray's return as Buzz for 'Home Sweet Home Alone' was revealed in the film's trailer. (20th Century Studios/Disney+)

Is Macaulay Culkin in Home Sweet Home Alone?

Despite some initial reports to the contrary, Macaulay Culkin does not appear in Home Sweet Home Alone. However, there is a brief verbal reference to Kevin McCallister via the appearance of Buzz. He dismisses phone calls made by Max's family about a child being left home alone, believing it to be a prank by his brother, who apparently makes similar calls every year.

Home Alone (Credit: Fox)
Macaulay Culkin starred in the original Home Alone (Fox)

There are also several mentions of a security company in the McCallister name, suggesting Kevin managed to translate his enthusiasm for household protection into a career. 

Read more: Chris Columbus says Home Alone reboot is a "waste of time"

Culkin hasn't been particularly complimentary about the prospect of a reboot, tweeting in 2019 about how he imagined a reboot would look if he were to take part. He confirmed in October 2021 that he was not involved in the new movie, but wished "all involved the best of luck".

Is Home Sweet Home Alone any good?

Much like Ghostbusters, there's a certain rarefied way in which people talk about Home Alone — as if it was something more prestigious than simply a very good comedy movie. 

So with that in mind, it would be ridiculous to suggest that Home Sweet Home Alone is some sort of affront to those who love the original, particularly given the glut of increasingly bargain basement sequels.

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The film is a fairly inoffensive parade of slapstick, let down by the fact its "villains" are actually rather sympathetic characters. This makes it rather difficult to enjoy it when they begin to be pelted by household items, though Delaney and Kemper are gifted comedy performers and evidently have great fun pratfalling about like their lives depend on it. 

Ellie Kemper and Rob Delaney take many stumbles throughout 'Home Sweet Home Alone'. (20th Century Studios/Disney+)
Ellie Kemper and Rob Delaney take many stumbles throughout 'Home Sweet Home Alone'. (20th Century Studios/Disney+)

Archie Yates, too, is charming, though the role is the very definition of an impossible gig for anyone who isn't Macaulay Culkin. 

For those who already see the original Home Alone as a bona fide festive classic worthy of an annual rewatch, Home Sweet Home Alone is little more than a curio. 

Read more: Best Christmas movies of the 21st century

However, there's no doubt that kids might enjoy experiencing this sort of story for the first time in modern clothes. And maybe it will prove to be a gateway back to the original which, after all, is also available on the same streaming platform.

Home Sweet Home Alone is set to premiere on 12 November as part of Disney+ Day.

Watch: Clip from Home Sweet Home Alone

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