Written by Dylan Brandesma
To talk about Home Alone 2 can actually be quite a difficult task. What can be said about it that everyone hasn’t already said about the first one? Frankly, not very much. However, unlike most sequels that seem to repeat the same thing over and over with no sense of recognition or understanding of the audience, Home Alone 2 has an invigorating sense of self-awareness to it, and I think that’s part of what makes it so memorable.
The premise, essentially, is the same — the McCallister family goes on vacation during the holidays and in the midst of all the madness of traveling, Kevin gets left behind and is left to face off against the two shortsighted burglars Harry and Marv (once again played veraciously by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern). If you’ve seen the first one, you’ll know exactly you’re up for going to the sequel.
Home Alone 2 is a movie that has all the potential elements of a throw-away cash-grab sequel, but the immediate change of setting, a quicker pace than the first, and the addition of several minor characters, such as hotel staff played by Tim Curry and a young, prospective Rob Schneider, all add an invigorating twist to the film that makes it altogether worthwhile.
Of course, as with the first one, the highlight of the film is the extensive battle between Kevin and the burglars Marv and Harry. Many of the booby traps are of the same, repetitive manner, and the stupidity level of Harry and Marv is cracked up to purely ridiculous levels, but even with that as a probable downfall, it’s delivered in a way that only John Hughes as director of a flawlessly chosen cast could pull off. It’s modern slapstick at its finest.
It’s substantially futile to compare the two, as aside from the changes listed, they really are the same movie, just with some slight tweaks and modifications here and there. Hell, there’s even substitutions for elements that were removed from the first one — rather than Roberts Blossom as Old Man Marley, we are given Brenda Fricker as the Pigeon Lady as a character that Kevin is initially afraid of and then warms up to later on, and rather than Kevin stealing from a store (the toothbrush from the convenient store), he donates to one (Duncan’s Toy Chest). All the key components are still there, and yet, it’s different. Returning writer/producer/director combo John Hughes and Chris Columbus knew exactly what they were doing when they constructed a sequel to the original 1990 sleeper hit, and even if it does its hit-or-miss moments, Home Alone 2 has aged extremely well, and I think over time it’s proven itself to be just as good as, if not better than the original.
To pick up Home Alone 2 for your holiday collection, click here.