Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

(On DVD, November 2016) The most interesting thing about Home Alone 2 is probably the elaborate fashion through which it seeks to integrate the distinctive elements of the first film into a new framework that doesn’t necessarily call for it. Rather than being left home alone during Christmas, our young protagonist ends up alone in New York while his family is in Florida. So far so good, except that the sequel then goes through shameless hoops in order to copy is own prequel. Bring back the villains as escaped convict; check. Befriend an elderly woman as mirror to the elderly man of the first film; check. Set the third act in a townhouse under renovation so that elaborate traps can be deployed; check. Once again, the script also goes through entertaining contortions to justify its own premise (that Kevin would once again be left alone, despite the family trying to avoid such a thing happening again). Setting the action in New York isn’t such a bad idea—it allows for some interesting scenery, a distinctive first-half feel, hotel hijinks and a cameo by future president Donald Trump (wait, did I really write this? Oh my … it’s sinking in.) But the slapstick third act feels far less interesting this time around—not only has it been already done before, but the traps seem far more needlessly violent than in the previous film, and there’s a fair case to be made about attempted murder on some of them. Macaulay Culkin once again holds much of the film together, with Chris Columbus delivering more or less the same film for the second time. The result is of a pair with the first film—what you think of the first will be what you think of the second, so closely do they align.

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