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Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

Review

When Macaulay Culkin’s trap-setting, burglar-fighting, Christmas-celebrating Home Alone grossed more than $477 million in its initial theatrical run in 1990, a sequel was inevitable. Two years later, Culkin was alone again, but this time New York City was his warzone. Unfortunately, we’re the victims of his re-hashed antics. The McCallisters are on their way to Florida for Christmas vacation. Kevin (Culkin) makes it to the airport with his family, but somehow ends up getting on the wrong flight and lands in New York, alone. Armed with his father’s wallet and a tape recorder (dubbed the ‘Talkboy,’ for marketing purposes), Kevin sets himself up in a swanky hotel room and hangs out at fancy toy store.

From there, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York repeats the plot of the first movie. Kevin bumps into the same two comical criminal failures, Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern), discovers their plot to steal the donations to a children’s hospital from Kevin’s favorite toy store and plots to stop them using paint cans, bricks, and anything else he can throw, drop, or light on fire.

Though zany physical comedy is the basis of Home Alone, it worked then because Kevin was a normal 10 year old who enjoyed shooting a BB gun in the house, sledding down the stairs, and eating junk food for dinner. While the first movie’s premise was absurd, Kevin wasn’t. By the time he set household traps, we believed in his ability to take care of himself. But in Home Alone 2, he’s duping the adult staff of a hotel and hanging out with a homeless pigeon lady. It’s absurdity that’s one small step away from the series’ straight-to-video stepchildren (Home Alones 3 and 4).

Amidst the cartoon violence, Culkin’s childhood charm still carries the film while Pesci and Stern provide a few laughs. But that can’t make up for Home Alone 2‘s moronic Saturday-morning mentality. In fact, it seems the movie was made solely to sell Talkboys (and let’s not forget the pink Talkgirls) to kids. In between the brick throwing and face smashing, there’s another money shot of Kevin using his tape recorder to trick the grownups. While the film has been forgotten by most, that childhood nostalgia is enough to keep those of us who grew up setting traps around the house and telling everyone to ‘Keep the change ya filthy animal’ coming back to get lost in the magic of Christmas movies, even when the movie sucks.