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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
After the runaway success of Home Alone, a sequel was a sure thing. But, what could they have done? Surely, Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) could not be left along again the exact same way, could he? Maybe he will have a sidekick (perhaps his brother, Buzz, adding an element of sibling rivalry into the mix). How will Harry and Marv (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) return? Lots of questions on how to make a sequel to a movie that does not need a sequel.
So, what did they do? Well, they took the simple route and made the exact same movie. Only this time, it is in New York! In the early 90s, New York City was sort of getting a renaissance in terms of popular image. Mayors Dinkins and Giuliani were really cleaning up the city around this time and reposition NYC as a magical place once again. All things being equal, this was probably a smart idea to move the setting, in principle (more on that below).
But, beyond that, the entire story is completely lifted from the first one. They might adjust a detail here or there, but it followed the exact same plot beats. From a madcap race to the airport and a clever use of a gangster movie, to a climatic booby-trapped house and a misunderstood outsider who comes to the rescue at the end, it is so incredibly lazy.
Perhaps the filmmakers felt the New York setting will hide the fact they are simply remaking the original movie. If anything, the new setting just highlights how ludicrous the entire premise of Home Alone is. The first one gets away with it, because Kevin stays at home. The second one tries to tell us that a kid can easily check into one of the world’s biggest and high-end hotels because he has his father’s credit card? C’mon…really? Granted, the hotel staff questions this, but the fact they simply allow it to happen in the first place is beyond preposterous.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is not a bad movie. It is an incredibly lazy one. Culkin looks bored throughout the entire thing. It is nothing more than a cash-in sequel. I do not want to say that no effort was put into this movie, but there was clearly no more effort expended than needed. And, if that is the case, I see why no effort should be made to actually watch this sequel.