Home Alone 3
Home Alone 3 is a 1997 American family comedy film written and produced by John Hughes. The third installment of the Home Alone series, the film is directed by Raja Gosnell in his directorial debut (who served as the editor of the first two films) and stars Alex D. Linz as Alex Pruitt, a resourceful boy who is left home alone and has to defend his home from a band of criminals. Upon release the movie was met with negative reviews, with primary criticism stating that it has almost nothing in common with the first two movies. The film was followed by a made-for-television sequel, Home Alone: Taking Back the House which was released in 2002, and received even worse reception than 3 received.
When a group of criminal spies tries to get a stolen top-secret computer chip through airport security, it ends up in a toy car in the luggage of the elderly Mrs. Hess (Marian Seldes). Unable to promptly retrieve the chip, the group follows Hess and the car to her neighborhood, where, after she gives the toy to 8-year-old Alex Pruitt (Alex D. Linz), who is home sick with the chickenpox from school, he becomes the target of the criminals. However, the precocious kid is on to their schemes and ready to fight the thieves off.
- The main problem with this film is that it has almost nothing in common with the first two films due to none of the original actors and their characters from them returning; for example, the main character from the first two installments, Kevin McCallister, was replaced by Alex Pruitt (who is still likable, but not as entertaining as Kevin); the two villains from the first two movies, Harry and Marv, were replaced by Jernigan, Unger, Alice and Pete, and the McCallister family themselves are replaced by the much-smaller Pruitts family. Because of that, it looks more like a spin-off/reboot than a sequel whose story and characters were changed at the last minute; in fact, it shouldn't have been titled Home Alone 3 to begin with.
- This is because Macaulay Culkin chose not to star in the film after stating that he thought that he was getting too old to play Kevin, as well as that he dropped out of acting in 1994. Several of Macaulay's brothers were offered to replace him, but they all turned it down as well.
- Unlike the other installments, this is the only film in the series that isn't set during Christmastime, instead during the winter season (even when there are some Christmas decorations).
- Besides that, the story doesn't really follow the Home Alone formula. Whereas the first two films centered on accidental child abandonment, this one does it more frequently to the point of it being intentional, which is considered child neglect. The motivation of the villains doesn't even match Harry and Marv's, either.
- Poor acting compared to the first two films.
- Some of the traps are either really complicated, easy to spot or even fatal compared to the first two films (eg. Jernigan getting his hair sliced by a push mower with painful screaming, Jernigan and Mr. Unger getting electrocuted, etc.). In fact, the thieving spies could've easily avoided the traps or perhaps even caught Alex preparing them, as well as that they are too cartoonish compared to the ones in the first two films.
- If Alex is left at home sick with the chickenpox, then who'll take care of him home alone? That's a big time sin; they could've just called Miss Hess to take care of him, although at one point, she gets caught by the villains and get's taped into a chair, although Alex does save her.
- It would be illogical for Alex to have a dog whistle despite having no dog.
- Poorly-done special effects (even by 1997 standards), like when Unger get's electroshocked in his butt, the lightning bolt looks fake.
- False advertising: One of the VHS promos say that this film is a successor to the first two movies, when this movie feels more of its own separate movie rather than a sequel to the Home Alone franchise.
- Unlike the other installments, the bad guys here are basically terrorists trying to launch a missile, which makes the movie try hard to be either a family film or an adult-oriented one, but it fails at being both.
- If the villains are smart, then why do they act stupid when they meet Alex?
- Speaking of the villains themselves, Unger and Jernigan are extremely underdeveloped sidekicks; out of the four villains, only Peter and Alice have some character development.
- The plot is very ridiculous and predictable from start to finish as it is all about the villains trying to find a computer chip to help them take over the world.
- Very unfunny slapstick, like when Peter gets punched in the crotch and Alex makes a stupid face.
- While the music isn't bad, it doesn't sound really fitting for a Home Alone movie.
- No Home Alone Cover This is the only movie to not have the protagonist scream in the cover, as Alex is making another face instead of screaming in the cover.
- Despite this being an entirely different story with diffferent characters, the film is at least still set in Chicago like the first film.
- The remote-controlled car used in the movie is a decent prop.
- The opening theme from the first two films is used at the beginning of the film. The ending theme My Town by Cartoon Boyfriend is catchy as well.
- The traps were pretty clever, albeit some of them made no sense.
- Alex is nonetheless a smart and amusing boy despite not being as amusing or cunning as Kevin.
- The final confrontation was decent, despite not being as comical as the ones in the first two films.
- The scene where the crooks get chickenpox mugshots taken near the end is pretty amusing.
- The movie could have fared better if it wasn't part of the Home Alone series.
- John Hughes is still the writer and producer.
Home Alone 3 received generally negative reviews upon release. It holds a 29% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 24 reviews. The critic consensus reads, "Macaulay Culkin's precocious charisma is sorely missed in this hollow sequel, which doubles down on the broad comedy while lacking all the hallmarks that made the original a classic."
However, on Siskel & Ebert, Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a positive review (3 out of 4 stars) and said he found it to be "fresh, very funny, and better than the first two". His co-critic, Gene Siskel of The Chicago Tribune gave it a thumbs down. Joel Siegel of ABC's Good Morning America also gave the film a positive review and stated that the film had "Big laughs." He also described the film as "a real kid-pleaser!"
For a while, this film was seen as the worst film in the franchise until Home Alone 4 came out in 2002, which received even worse reception than this film, often saying that it makes 3 look like a masterpiece by comparison. Even Home Alone 5 is considered to better than 4.
Awards and nominations
Home Alone 3 was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Remake or Sequel, but lost to Speed 2: Cruise Control (also distributed by 20th Century Fox).
Home Alone 3 opened up at #4 on its opening weekend grossing $5,085,482. The film would later make a total domestic gross of $30,882,515. In overseas markets, the film made $48,200,000. Overall, it grossed $79,082,515 worldwide against its $32 million budget.
- In the Nostalgia Critic review of it, he gave a highly negative option, as it has no connections to the first two movies.
- Before the film was made, Macaulay Culkin chose not to star in the film after stating that he thought that he was getting too old to play Kevin.
- It is the final theatrical Home Alone movie in the franchise.
- This movie was going to be originally called "New House, New Kid".
- Several of Macaulay's brothers were offered to replace him, but they all turned it down as well.
- This is the only Home Alone film that Roger Ebert enjoyed.
- Chris Columbus (who directed the previous films) refused to direct this one, because he felt uncomfortable working with a new cast.