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Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Movie Review (Christmas Special)

Happy second of Advent everyone! Continuing with the tradition of ‘Christmas Special Reviews’, it’s time to take a closer look at Home Alone 2

Genre: Adventure / Christmas / Comedy

Director: Chris Columbus

Cast: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O’Hara, John Heard, Brenda Fricker, Devin Ratray, Gerry Bamman, Eddie Bracken & Tim Curry.

Run Time: 120 min.

US Release: 20 November 1992

UK Release: 11 December 1992

German Release: 10 December 1992

It’s that time of year again, so I decided to pick up a review series I started long ago, as I go through some holiday classics. This year I will focus on reviewing the Home Alone film series, with the first flick already reviewed in 2015. Today I will tackle the second instalment, Lost in New York, directed again by Chris Columbus. Pretty much a retelling of the predecessor’s story on a grander scale, this sequel doesn’t show much originality, though it is as entertaining as the first! So cuddle up and join me for my Home Alone 2: Lost in New York review!


Kevin McCallister returns, but this time he is all alone in New York City, with enough money to turn the Big Apple into his own playground. Kevin isn't alone, however, as the notorious bandits Harry and Marv, still recovering from their last encounter with Kevin, are bound for NY City, plotting to rob Duncan’s Toy Chest on Christmas Eve. Kevin's ready to welcome them with a bigger battery of booby traps, which the half-wit criminals will never forget.

With writer John Hughes having signed a six-picture deal with 20th Century Fox, he finalised a script for the sequel to the successful Home Alone in February 1991. Principal photography started in December of that year, finishing around May. Critical responses upon release were mixed, with many disapproving of the heavy use of violence.

One of my biggest complaints concerning this sequel, is the fact that it rehashes a lot of plot points from the first holiday flick, simply blowing them up. Instead of being alone at home, Kevin McCallister finds himself alone in the biggest city on the East Coast. Instead of accidentally stealing a toothbrush, he commits credit card fraud. Of course, Marv and Harry need to coincidentally resurface in the city, after a break-out. Then there is the fact that the booby traps, Kevin sets up in his uncle's New York home, which is being remodelled, are much more deadly than in the first part.

That said, it still is a fun little Christmas tale that effectively spreads holiday feelings. I did not mind the darker moments, after all, a kid alone in New York at night is scary! The cartoonish slapstick violence, while brutal, works fine in live-action, being the main comedic component; these types of movies demand a sense of disbelief, otherwise, they would not work at all! The natural progression of the plot, while recycled, has been well written by Hughes. It does feel as if the family has grown, since audiences saw them last.

The dialogue is a little too silly again, making it hard to take some of the events seriously. That said, it also switches at times abruptly to a harsher tone, while making more use of profanities.

The family still is pretty dysfunctional, with many of his relatives treating Kevin unfairly, as his brother Buzz humiliates, or abuses him verbally and physically. It always falls back on Kevin, even though he reacted completely understandably. The character of uncle Frank is the worst! I never understood how Kevin’s parents were okay with him insulting the boy in front of everyone while leaching off, of his brother. The young protagonist is completely right to call him out on it!

Macaulay Culkin returned to play Kevin McCallister. While a little older, he is still very relatable, especially for viewers who grew up with siblings. True, he is still a little brat at times, yet he also learns from mistakes made, apologises to people he might have unwillingly insulted and gives good advice that can be applied to life. He also learned to stand up for himself, calling out people in his family for what they are.

Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are also back, as the dimwitted criminals, from the predecessor. They are my absolute favourite characters in this franchise, with a chemistry that is off the charts, plus impeccable comedic timing. Both are among the funniest duo in a movie, hands down!

Brenda Fricker was cast as the bird lady, replacing Robert Blossom’s character from Home Alone, as a troubled person who looks frightening at first, but comes to Kevin's aid when in need of help. Tim Curry, as Mr Hector, the concierge of the Plaza Hotel, was an incredibly funny character.

The cinematography is kept very much the same as in the first Home Alone, with equal shot setups. Technically, it was filmed on a Panavision Panaflex Platinum, compared to the Ariflex cameras used in the prior feature. Given that it takes place in New York, big wide panoramic shots are included of the metropolis, as well as an aerial shot, zooming out from the top of the Twin Towers, overlooking the city. The segments when Kevin runs around the streets at night are given a slight fish-eye effect, distorting reality to let audiences experience the scene from the boy's view.

The sets and effects are once again practical, looking very realistic. The stunts are well-executed plus funny, but simply unbelievable. Everyone knows that a brick thrown at someone’s face, from that height, would have killed a person. The makeup design for injuries is brilliant. There is a scene that uses a plastic skeleton, as an effect while Marv gets electrocuted, which is too silly.

John Williams returned to score the soundtrack of this sequel, which is simply pure joy. It reuses the opening theme from the first film, as well as other melodies. However, it also included an original song, named “Christmas Star”.


Verdict: Chris Columbus’ sequel to his 1990 family holiday picture, is very much a beat-for-beat retelling of the first plot. Many of the things in Home Alone, are reused in Lost in New York, yet blown out of proportion to make it bigger, more impactful. The narrative is in many ways a copy of the original, set in another city. It is, however, an incredibly fun sequel even if most scenes have been already seen. Macaulay Culkin was once again fantastic as Kevin McCallister. Standouts, nonetheless, are Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as Harry and Marv, who are simply hilarious. Tim Curry was also a very funny inclusion, as the devious hotel concierge. The cinematography does reuse shot setups as well, though includes some beautiful scenic moments of the metropole. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, might not be as good as its predecessor but is still worth a 7.0 out of 10.

So, what are your thoughts on this second part of this holiday franchise? If you haven’t seen it until now, what are you waiting for? Go watch it now, it is worth it!


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