Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House (2002) – movie review

Share now:

Movie Review by Vivienne Messenger

Starring: Mike Weinberg, French Stewart, Jason Beghe, Joanna Going, Clare Carey, Erick Avari
Director: Rod Daniel

It’s hard to believe that twelve years have passed since the release of HOME ALONE, the original blockbuster hit that made Macaulay Culkin a household name. This time round it’s Mike Weinberg as Kevin McCallister who fills the boots of the young boy home alone in Natalie’s (Joanna Going) (his father’s wealthy girlfriend’s) ‘intelligent’ mansion.

Kevin’s parents are separated and with their divorce looming things at home with his mother (Clare Carey) are difficult enough without the added friction and bullying dealt him by his older brother. So when his dad extends an invite to Kevin and his siblings on his Christmas Eve visit to stay with him and his new girlfriend there are initially no takers but it dwells on Kevin’s mind. So later on Christmas Eve, Kevin snucks out unbeknownst to his mum, grabs a taxi and arrives on Natalie’s doorstep to be with his dad (Jason Beghe).

Kevin’s life shifts gear when Natalie welcomes him to her ‘intelligent’ mansion and is given a voice-controlled remote that he can speak commands into and the mansion responds as in: put the TV / DVD on, change the channels at whim, turn the lights on/off, draw the curtains etc. – everybody’s dream especially Kevin’s. In ecstatic disbelief at his good fortune he soon has a run in with the austere butler Prescott (Erick Avari) and is taken under the wing of Natalie’s housekeeper Molly (Barbara Babcock) when he is the sole witness to two criminals – Marv (French Stewart) and Vera (Missi Pyle) – breaking in to case the mansion and chaos ensues as Kevin’s antics get him into trouble.

As Christmas dawns Kevin is left HOME ALONE while Natalie and Kevin’s dad go out to pick up the royal guests that are staying with them over the holidays. It’s now up to Kevin to foil the two criminals’ plan to kidnap the prince when he arrives at Natalie’s mansion and Kevin unleashes a formidable barrage of defences as the fun begins.

Most children will enjoy this movie though it does take a while to really get started so there may be some fidgeting in the audience. It won’t have the same impact that the original HOME ALONE had because some of the spark has gone, let down by the script rather than the acting because Kevin isn’t really left alone for the length of time that Macaulay Culkin’s character was. When the action gets going though it will certainly keep the kids laughing and Mike Weinberg holds his own in the lead role as do the supporting cast in particular Erick Avari, French Stewart and Missi Pyle.

As always the ending is somewhat of a forgone conclusion but the audience are kept guessing as to who is in cahoots with our two baddies Marv and Vera plus there is a nice twist at the end.

4 out of 6 stars