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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Home Alone 3 (1997)



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Here's a surprise. Home Alone 3, featuring none of the actors or characters from the first two films, isn't all that bad. The first half is, while unashamedly children's escapism prone to logical lapses the viewer is not supposed to question, better than anything the first films have to offer. The kid, this time played by Alex D. Linz instead of Macaulay Culkin, is more charismatic and less of a brat. The best sequence involves a band of four badguys, on the trail of a computer chip they hid inside a remote controlled car to get it through customs, chasing after said car as it races through the neighborhood with a video camera taped onto it. When I was a kid, this is the sort of thing I always wanted to do with a remote controlled car and never could, because once it got ten feet away or hit a little bump, it would need manual attendance. But that's why we have movies like this one: if we can't play with remote controlled cars unencumbered by the messy details of physics, at least we can do so vicariously.

Unfortunately, as with Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, things abruptly fall apart when the requisite home invasion sequence begins. Suddenly, the escapism becomes a cartoon, the balance of escapism and slapstick swings in gross favor of the latter, and the film's charm is lost. At least the impossibly perfect booby traps don't induce quite so much wincing and cringing, but I've have preferred it if the movie had ended at the hour mark.

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