Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

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One year after Kevin McCallister was left home alone and had to defeat a pair of bumbling burglars, he accidentally finds himself stranded in New York City – and the same criminals are not far behind. (IMDb)
I’ve never seen a sequel so blatantly and blandly recycle the plot movement and motifs of the original. Some of it is given new life by the different setting (who wasn’t living vicariously through Kevin when he’s gorging on room service?) but most of it’s not. A couple funny new characters (Curry and Schneider’s hotel staff) are cancelled out by the now-comedically-flat Marv and Harry. Meanwhile, Kevin’s new batch of booby-traps cross the line from humorously harsh to just plain disturbing.
6/10 (Mediocre)

 

Home Alone (1990)

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An eight-year-old troublemaker must protect his house from a pair of burglars when he is accidentally left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation. (IMDb)
Culkin’s cute and clever Kevin confidently carries this kooky Christmas classic, with help from Pesci and Stern’s easy-to-laugh-at bungling burglars. The slapstick comedy of the third act is the obvious highlight (“Why the hell did you take off your shoes?” “Why the hell are you dressed like a chicken?”) but solid writing engages you until then (see the grocery store scene; the subplot with Marley). The redemptive arc with the family didn’t hit home though (poor Kevin didn’t need to feel sorry).
7/10 (Good)

Blank Check (1994)

By accident, the 12-year-old Preston is given a blank check and when he fills in $1,000,000 – he is able to get it! He is having fun spending the money, but the gangsters who owned it want it back…  (IMDb)
A kid vs. adults comedy a la Home Alone, complete with a preposterous plot, shoddy acting, and loud 80s music, but it’s really not a terrible watch if you can see its cheesyness as charming instead of aggravating. There are a few truly funny moments (“Damian and Ralph sleep butt to face, butt to face…”), and the hilariously hard-luck and lonely Preston is a sympathetic character made even more so by Bonsall’s mediocre performance. A fun enough family flick.
6/10 (Mediocre)