Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, and Daniel Stern
Director: Chris Columbus
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars
In "Home Alone", Kevin (Culkin), the youngest child in a large and chaotic family goes to bed one night shortly before Christmas with an angry wish that his entire family would just vanish. When he wakes up the next morning, everyone has indeed disappeared, and Kevin happily goes about his new life as an "emancipated minor." (His family hasn't magically vanished; they simply forgot to wake him for the Christmas trip to visit far-away relatives... much to the mother's shame and horror when she discovers what has happened.) Kevin's is enjoying his total freedom... until two house-prowlers (Pesci and Stern) targeting homes that are empty for the holidays mark his house for break-in. What follows is a battle of wits and skill between a bratty--but creative--kid and two less-than-sharp criminals.
Some reviewers and critics pan "Home Alone" as not being dark enough and too silly. These are commentators who truly don't get this movie. and who fail to recognize that they are NOT the target audience for the film. "Home Alone" is a kid's movie and its target audience are kids. And kids LOVE the idea of being independent, and kids love the idea of fending off criminals with bizarre traps and slapstick.
Personally, I spend the climax of "Home Alone" wincing because the cartoon violence visited upon the hapless burglars trying to invade Kevin's home makes my bones ache, but I guarantee that kids will love it. The messages that the film works in about Christmas and the value of family also make the film worth seeing.
I think "Home Alone" is an excellent Christmas movie, and I think that the critics that panned it need to remember that kids really aren't just mini-adults. Or maybe they just need to try to remember what it's like to be a kid.