Home Sweet Home Alone, the latest entry in the long-running Christmas comedy family film franchise, has made its impending Disney+ arrival known with a debut trailer. Similar to the many sequels that preceded it, the new movie apparently adheres to the same structural beats set from 1990’s original Home Alone. However, besides distinguishing itself with a recent break out star in Jo Jo Rabbit’s Archie Yates, the film is seemingly grounded in the canon of the original, as evidenced by the return of Devin Ratray’s Buzz.
As the trailer implies, Home Sweet Home Alone’s ordeal of Yates’s Max is far from unique in the now-six-film Home Alone franchise. Indeed, he’s an unassumingly prodigious kid accidentally left behind by distracted, vacation-departed parents—notably an agitated mother (Aisling Bea)—and forced to fend off invaders from his family’s advantageously-spacious American upper-middle-class suburban abode using clever traps. Granted, the idea of said invaders being an unthreatening couple (Ellie Kemper and Rob Delaney) reluctantly attempting to recover an heirloom from the house is a bit of a twist, but a perfunctory nature prominently adorns the film’s proverbial sleeve. Thankfully, the flash appearance of a cop intriguingly brandishing a McCallister name on his uniform provides a unique narrative.
Check out the Home Sweet Home Alone trailer just below.
Of course, extended analysis is hardly necessary to discern that the cop briefly shown in the trailer arriving at the scene of Max’s house is none other than Home Alone franchise original character Buzz McCallister, as reprised by Devin Ratray. The bulky bellicose older sibling of original accidentally-abandoned kid Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin), Buzz was not only the prototypical bombastic bully brother, but tended to be the surreptitious instigator of the very family squabbles that would lead to Kevin being lost in the logistical fray before the McCallisters’ frantic family vacations.
Interestingly enough, Ratray’s return as Buzz is the franchise’s first real callback to the continuity of the John Hughes-penned, Chris Columbus-directed original iteration, last represented by Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992). While one might point out that 2002 TV movie Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House returned to the McCallister family—with Kevin played by Mike Weinberg and Buzz played by Gideon Jacobs—that entry ignored the passage of time, and can hardly be considered canonical. Sure, such terminology bestows Home Alone with a level of poignancy that’s comical in its own right, but it is nevertheless factual.
Additionally, the Home Sweet Home Alone trailer’s brief Buzz scene manages to convey some slightly intriguing exposition about the film’s setting. As we get our surprise glimpse of Ratray’s familiar face (and all of Kevin’s trauma it represents), we hear his police radio dispatch divulge something about “reports of suspicious people around 36 Lincoln Ave.” Contextually, exterior scenes of the McCallisters’ house in the first two films—notably the first, for which it was the primary setting—were shot at 671 Lincoln Ave. in Winnetka, Illinois. Thusly, it can be deduced that the new film is not only taking place in the same continuity as the first two films, but on the very same street—albeit much farther away. There doesn’t seem to be any intrinsic consequences attached to that notion, but it does further cement the idea of this film’s clear attempt to ground itself on or near the franchise’s roots.
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While Home Sweet Home Alone is clearly family fare, it is the product of creative personnel who don’t typically dwell in the genre, notably its director, Dan Mazer, a frequent collaborator with Sacha Baron Cohen going back to Da Ali G Show to recent offerings like Who Is America? and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Moreover, Mazer worked off a screenplay by current SNL onscreen personnel in Mikey Day and Streeter Seidell. Consequently, a satirical edge might just be hidden beneath the surface of this unapologetic, trope-mimicking franchise family feature. Moreover, the film will serve as the first major starring platform for Archie Yates, whose seemingly-imminent stardom off his scene-stealing role in 2019’s Jo Jo Rabbit has been delayed by the pandemic.