Christmas films to watch: Home Alone 2 (1992)

Kevin is lost in New York in the follow up to this 1990 classic.
Kevin is lost in New York in the follow up to this 1990 classic.

Following on from yesterday’s trip down memory lane with Home Alone – today we keep going with the sequel, the rather non-imaginatively titled ‘Home Alone 2’. This time round the McCallister family are off to Florida for their Christmas vacation. I know, this is one very well off family – one film Paris, next film Florida! Then again who wants to spend Christmas in a place without Christmas trees? That is unless anyone wants to make me an offer to spend Christmas in Australia…? No one… No one at all…? I’ll carry on then.

This is a film that riffs quite successfully off of a tried and tested formula from start to finish. Scary-who-turns-out-to-be-friendly Old Man Marley (Roberts Blossom) is replaced by Central Park Bird-woman (Brenda ‘I used to be in Casualty Fricker); Buzz (Devin Ratray) and Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) arguing over a pizza is replaced by Buzz humiliating Kevin at a Christmas pageant, and most importantly Kevin being left ‘Home Alone’ is replaced by Kevin taking the wrong flight by accident and ending up in New York – where our criminals from the first movie Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) are planning to rob Duncan’s Toy Store on Christmas Eve.

Naturally, given the familiarity the audience has with the established characters, and the familiarity the established characters have with others – this is a film that can go slightly further. Harry and Marv bump into Kevin long before the predictable confrontation in a house of horrors (conveniently provided by vacationing relatives) resulting in an ongoing plot of outwitting each other. Also, given the film’s background with Kevin ‘Lost in New York’ we also get a chance to explore the luxury that is a five-star New York Hotel (the Plaza – yes it still exists, yes its still expensive – $800 a night – I checked!) and obviously other New York landmarks such as Central Park.

With a plot so similar to the first movie, it is understandable why some may give this film a bad rep in comparison to the original. However in my opinion this is really is a refined version of the original – just as enjoyable, and with extra gags to go with it. You can also notice the idea of merchandising had permeated 20th Century Fox in the making of this film – who wouldn’t want their own Talkboy cassette recorder after seeing Kevin successfully blag his way into a five star hotel using it?! The ‘house of horrors’ – or fun depending on how you look at it, is also more refined. I’m not as much of a fan of some of the tricks used here, the toilet filled with flammable liquid for example, or Harry’s inability to get really hurt – unlike Marv who seems to lose most of his mental faculties during the film’s second half.

As always this film is going to have a happy ending – unless you are Kevin’s Father (John Heard) picking up the hotel bill at the end of the film – Kevin foils the burglary, and manages to get Harry and Marv re-arrested. Unsurprisingly, Kevin is also reunited with his family who seem to (unlike the original) have no problem in suddenly getting an internal flight across America’s East Coast just two days before Christmas. This is a heart-warming, funny and witty comedy with some fun in there for everyone.

In keeping with the traditions of the first film John Williams provides the music to this classic – ‘Somewhere in my Memory’ being revamped for the occasion. Other music is also provided with lots of seasonal Christmas tunes adding to the festive atmosphere of the film. You will smile, laugh and in some cases sing-a-long – or simply just get jealous that a ten year old boy manages to outwit everyone and survive in New York for so long!

A genuinely Christmas film – this is another family film for all the family. It’s on my must watch list for Christmas too – and I’d recommend that once the turkey has settled on Christmas Day, this could be just the ticket!

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is available to buy on DVD and Blu-Ray. Sadly, this film is currently not on the broadcast schedules of any UK channel over the Christmas period.