Home Alone 2: Lost in New York - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Reviews

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February 9, 2018
The second classic one to enjoy on every Christmas!
½ February 5, 2018
one of my favorite holiday movies ever, a christmas must-see
January 27, 2018
A copy of Home Alone (The first one) but its underrated, 4/5
Daniel Mumby
Super Reviewer
½ January 11, 2018
In my review of Beverly Hills Cop II, I spoke at great length about Hollywood's tendency to demand 'more of the same' when faced with a successful film - whether that success was anticipated or not. I described it as Simpson and Bruckheimer "at their most lazy and cynical. Everything that can be recycled is recycled, so that beat for beat and plot point for plot point, there is almost nothing between the two films" - nothing, that is, unless you count Tony Scott's penchant for explosions and bare flesh.

If Beverly Hills Cop II was the most blatant (and contemptuous) example of 'more of the same' that the 1980s could offer, than Home Alone 2: Lost in New York deserves the same crown for the 1990s. The career-making success of the original film, for both its star Macaulay Culkin and its director Chris Columbus, meant that a follow-up was as inevitable as the tides. But even after more than 15 years, it's quite staggering how little effort went into bringing anything new to the table, and even on nostalgic terms it's at the very best hanging on the original's coattails.

It's a common tactic among either sequels or spin-off projects to take familiar characters and put them in a new situation - it's a trick that's been tried on everything from Are You Being Served?: The Movie to Sex and the City 2. Fish-out-of-water stories can become tiresome very quickly if they're not anchored itoeither a witty script or good performances, but at the very least., most films which go down this route at least make an effort to emphasise the differences in culture, even if it's just a passing, off-hand comment about how fast people move or the fact that there's no phone signal.

The single biggest problem with Home Alone 2 (as it will hereafter be known) is the contempt it shows for its target audience. It makes precisely zero effort to innovate, either in its plot or its gags, because it presumes that people will pay to see it regardless of the content on the basis that the original was so popular. It even goes so far as deliberately re-staging or replicating the same physical or visual gags as the first film, grotesquely overconfident that lightning will strike twice. Even with a rushed production schedule - during which time a number of the crew's cameras froze while filming the Christmas scenes - there is no excuse for such an appalling attitude.

What's perplexing about this is that screenwriter John Hughes put a lot of effort into writing the sequel. He wrote multiple drafts of the screenplay, and chose New York specifically on the grounds that it was "a great place to lose him. It's a huge city. The kid can get in lots of trouble." Hughes' reputation was still riding high by the time of the first Home Alone, even if audiences' tolerance for his high school teenage archetypes was wearing thin (Heathers contains all the proof you'll need of this). One can only assume that this was the moment where his creative talent began to desert him, and his subsequent screenplays indicate that this was no mere aberration.

Assuming for the moment that Hughes was not as fault (or at least was not deliberately writing terrible material for the sake of a fast buck), then much of the blame for the film's low quality must lie with Columbus. Throughout his career he has been the epitome of 'a safe pair of hands', someone who is good at churning out family-friendly, inoffensive mush which will please studio executives at the cost of dulling an audience's imagination. His overly cautious approach to this material, together with his unremarkable camera work, is a depressing foreshadowing of his work in the ensuing years, whether on the first two Harry Potter films, the first Percy Jackson film, or perhaps most criminally Bicentennial Man.

To this end, Home Alone 2 follows the beats of its predecessor virtually to the letter. We begin in the run-up to Christmas with Kevin's family all getting ready to go on holiday - including a restaging of the alarm clock chaos which wasn't that funny the first time around. We have the contrived series of events to separate Kevin from his family, albeit more elaborately this time, and the mother's hammy realisation that he is missing. There are the all-too-ornate means of Kevin avoiding detection, again relying on clips from old films - a trick that was already old hat before the first film tried it. And we have the slapstick-driven climax - having somehow managed to get Kevin back in an actual house - in which the only sensible moment is the lampshading of the gag with the swinging cans of paint. Columbus admitted on the Home Alone commentary that this film was "to some extent" a remake of the first film. On the basis of how much has been repeated, it's a wonder that he didn't make it a shot-for-shot remake, a la Gus van Sant's pointless version of Psycho.

Not only is Home Alone 2 irritatingly cocky over its retreading of old ground, but the performances are very phoned in. It may seem unfair to pick on Culkin - or on child actors in general - but his delivery in the sequel is very flat and poorly paced; he rushes or mutters his way through many of his lines as though he didn't want to be there. Catherine O'Hara mugs to the camera as Kevin's mother, and the moments in which she has to break the fourth wall are pretty toe-curling. And Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are just copying their work in the first film (which for Pesci is hardly a stretch). The only bright lights in the cast are the reliably watchable Tim Curry as the hotel concierge and Brenda Fricker, who makes the most of her underwritten part of the Pigeon Lady.

This brings us onto the Christmas element of the film. I have already made my views on festive films as clear as is necessary; read my review of The Heart of Christmas or Die Hard if you are need of a refresher. Suffice to say, Home Alone 2 falls into the same sad camp as Elf, celebrating the material benefits of the holiday season and then tacking on a sentimental coda as a half-hearted apology. You might have a point in arguing that this film is less offensive than, for instance, Jingle All The Way, because it focusses on the philanthropy of the toy store owner rather than the latest toy he is selling. But it's still selling an audience short, choosing the easy route to pulling on heartstrings rather than laying the emotional groundwork needed for it to mean something.

The nature of the violence in the Home Alone series has been a bone of contention for some time. Living in an age post-Jackass, where people will willingly be filmed (or film themselves) causing all manner of pain and damage to their bodies, complaining about the violence in Home Alone 2 could come across as quaint. Certainly, you could say, I had no problem with the amount of blood, limbs and other bodily fluids which were scattered across the screen during Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn, so what harm is a few bangs on the head or falls through the floor going to do?

Notwithstanding the fact that Evil Dead 2 is an 18 and this film is a PG, the answer lies in the execution (no pun intended) of said violence. In Evil Dead 2, Sam Raimi made no bones about the film being a slapstick-driven comedy in which we were meant to empathise with the fall guy (Ash). The demented nature of the violence was both scary and absurdly funny, and the moments of physical mutilation were punctuated by routines that wouldn't look out of place in a Three Stooges short. Home Alone 2, by contrast, asks us to actively not care whether the Wet Bandits get hurt or not so long as their pain is funny - and therefore gives itself the license to be as nasty to them as possible on the grounds that their lives don't really matter. Even if you don't buy into the idea that Home Alone was an expression of libertarian, Republican values - in which poor, lazy criminals only got what they deserved - the comedy in this film is hit-and-miss precisely because we don't care enough about the fall guys.

In the midst of all this, there are a couple of redeeming qualities which prevent Home Alone 2 from being a complete disaster (and no, Donald Trump's cameo isn't one of them). For all it story problems, the production values are pretty decent for the day; Julio Macat's cinematography given the New York scenes a glossy sheen, and the snowy sections (much of which was filmed in a real blizzard) are quite pleasant in and of themselves. And while its comedy may often fall flat, the film at least doesn't resort to speeding up the footage or the sound, or other cheap stunts like that.

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is a poor sequel whose laziness frequently tips over contempt. The sheer lack of effort poured into its plot and character development is frankly shameful, and for all its nostalgic quality it can neither hold a candle to the original nor adequately stand on its own. There are worse films out there which have a Christmas setting, but you would struggle to find one which cares so little about the intelligence of its audience.
½ December 30, 2017
171229 recorded off Shaw.
171229: I'm not certain why people give this film such a hard time. It's quaint, funny and heartwarming. Enough said.
December 28, 2017
Home Alone 2 is ok. Home Alone 2 is great for the first hour but is boring for about 30 minutes which drags the movie to feeling way too long. The movie has the same plot as the first which hurts it. The Wet Bandits and Tim Curry are the best part of the movie.
½ December 25, 2017
Disappointing sequel to the original that while retains some laughs, just comes off as a blatant money grab. Culkin continues his solid work as Kevin, though this time he comes off more as a jerk than a bewildered kid, as he knows what happens to his family and decides to stay in New York anyway. Thankfully, Pesci & Stern are back in fine form, delivering most of the films laughs as in the first one. There are some nice new additions as well, particularly Tim Curry as the smarmy hotel worker. Behind the camera, Chris Columbus repeats most of the gags of the original, though he does acknowledge the first film numerous times (Kevin's family jokes it's a Christmas tradition to lose him, while the burglars are sensitive that Kevin is great at laying traps). However, it still feels like a retread, and for some reason, is nearly 30 minutes longer than the original, which drags it down. Thankfully, the third act, while not as funny as the first film's, still brings plenty of laughs as Pesci & Stern repeat their superb physical comedy. Plus, John Williams delivers another great score. Overall, not worth owning by itself, but if cheaply packaged with the first film, not a bad viewing during the holidays.
December 24, 2017
A great sequel that my only flaw with it is it's pretty much the same movie as the first one. Except this time Kevin is stuck in New York and not his house. To be honest this movie is almost as entertaining as the first one and luckily got all the stars back (unlike the godawful sequels that come after this one, but to be honest it was better off they weren't in them.) This is still a fun and entertaining Christmas movie.
½ December 24, 2017
An enjoyable sequel to a Christmas classic, even though it's nearly a remake of the first.
½ December 24, 2017
Home Alone 2 is a rehash that is recently getting its ass handed to it because of a cameo from...you know... but I think the sequel is better than its given credit for. After all, this was the only Home Alone sequel that actually had the same cast and crew from the first film. The slapstick is quite hilarious despite showing evidence that Kevin is the Jigsaw killer, Tim Curry steals the show and it's actually quite funny to see Rob Schneider before he was famous getting trolled with tips three times. And I don't like Schneider that much. It's not COMPLETELY a repeat of the first movie but in New York. Since he's not at home and living in a hotel at the moment, Kevin has to ensure that the staff don't realize he's by himself, especially how highly suspicious they are. The script is decent despite being made fun of in the DVD commentary as being a cut-and-paste. As the Nostalgia Critic pointed out, Macaulay Culkin's performance may seem phoned in but it's not his fault. It's how overwhelming being famous can be. If random American journalists come to my house and knock on my door, what can I say? Pray for me. Despite being repetitive, Home Alone 2 benefits from having the same cast and crew from the first film which is why the sequel works. 3,4 and 5 are sorry sacks of crap that I'm not even sure I'll even want to review. This is the only Home Alone sequel that's actually worth your while.
December 23, 2017
One of those gem of a sequels that stands up to the original. New backdrop makes this the perfect pairing with Home Alone. Another Christmas must.
December 21, 2017
When we had enough of someplaces, some people and life when we are no longer a kid to stand up for ourselves. When what is not enough we see get into trouble again, disciplined again and out authorized again. When what we can't get enough are the new age luxuries of technology, lifestyles and travel to see we are ready to go on that trip we couldn't get to, not repeat mistakes. When what we can't get enough of is time when we are late again, in a hurry, and we get lost along the way when we can't catchup to the rest. When what we can't get enough of is independence when we are lost in New York. When we can't get enough of some freedom and wealth to enjoy the time we have while we are here, when it's living it up, being generous, and meeting new friends along the way.

When what we can't get enough of is two idiots that need to rob again when they escape other places to be right in front of us in the wrong time. When we see we can't get enough of outsmarting everyone who is out to get us. When we can't get enough of feeling guilt to get enough advice from those in low and high perspectives to show us that it's not too late to set things right. When we can't get enough of ourselves when we are good at what we do, protecting to lure those from one place to another place to give those more in need a chance.

When what others have had enough of other places to come to another place to find us. When some holidays we can't get enough of when it's in the centre of the murder and privileged capital in US to know we don't have enough time. When we can't get enough

When we see we had enough of those when they are no longer cute
½ December 19, 2017
Home Alone 2 proves to be the best out of the several sequels, and it's not a bad film either. While the overall story structure and message of the film is still identical to the original, there still is some solid holiday entertainment here as well as more traps and slapstick humor to warrant a watch.

3.5/5 stars
December 18, 2017
This film is still hilarious and a Christmas classic for sure. I have always preferred Home Alone 2 over the first Home Alone, and I still laugh every time I watch it. This film is severely underrated on Rotten Tomatoes.
December 16, 2017
This is a funny sequel to the first movie adding some new fun and bringing back some old stuff. This is an awesome movie
December 15, 2017
Average Christmas movie
½ December 10, 2017
What sort of a crap movie is this. The first one wasn't great but at least it was somewhat funny and original. This is just another BS cash grab from the studio. This is just the exact same as the last one but I laughed a solid 0 times. Nothing good about this movie, save yourself the time and rewatch something better. Like Fant4stic or Cars 2, because I would rather be watching those movies than this right now.
November 21, 2017
Not as good as the first, but decent.
November 10, 2017
Not as good as the 1st but a great feel good comedy and depicts NYC very well!!!
½ October 27, 2017
Still pretty entertaining, mostly because of the actors. The storyline got pretty unbelievable & a little lame, if still funny. The last part with the 2 thieves got too painful & sadistic too ..
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