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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Home Alone (1990)



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I am so conflicted over Home Alone. The film is made up of equal parts good and bad. If I didn't like a part of it, all I had to do was stick it out; unfortunately, the good bits came to an end as well.

The problem is an identity crisis of sorts. On the one hand, it tries to create sympathy for the central character -- young Macaulay Culkin, whose very large family miscounts heads and leaves on a family vacation without him -- by attempting to be realistic about the consequences of the situation. On the other hand, the movie tries to be a kids' fantasy, where the young hero proves quite self-sufficient, wise enough to give valuable advice to adults, and cunning enough to foil bulgars intent on pillaging his family's home.

One or the other could have worked, but, mashed together, the two aspects combat each other. The fantastic sequences topple the investments previously made in the characters and are less amusing than they should be for it.

Still, this film is likely to engage children without trying the patience of their parents too much, and on that basis, Home Alone is a moderately successful effort. I just wish it had made good on one or the other of the goals it was shooting for.

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