Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House

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Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House
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GenreComedy
Family
Crime
Based onCharacters
by John Hughes
Written byDebra Frank
Steve L. Hayes
Directed byRod Daniel
Starring
Music byTeddy Castellucci
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Production
Producer(s)Mitch Engel
CinematographyPeter Benison
Editor(s)Michael A. Stevenson
John Coniglio
Running time89 minutes[1]
Production company(s)Fox Television Studios
Distributor20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Release
Original networkABC
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Original releaseNovember 3, 2002 (2002-11-03)
(Television ABC premiere)
September 2, 2003 (2003-09-02)
(home video, USA)
Chronology
Preceded byHome Alone 3
Followed byHome Alone: The Holiday Heist

Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House is a 2002 American made-for-television Christmas family comedy film directed by Rod Daniel, which first aired on ABC on November 3, 2002, followed by a DVD release on September 2, 2003. The film stars Mike Weinberg, French Stewart, Missi Pyle, Jason Beghe, Erick Avari, Barbara Babcock, Joanna Going, and Clare Carey.

It is the fourth installment in the Home Alone series. The film brings back several of the main characters from the first two films, including Kevin McCallister, but with all of the roles played by different actors. The plot revolves around Kevin McCallister trying to defend his future stepmother's house from his old nemesis Marv and his sidekick/wife Vera. It was director Rod Daniel's last film before his death in 2016.[2]

Plot[edit]

Peter McCallister, who is finalizing a divorce from his wife Kate, announces to their children Buzz, Megan, and Kevin that he and his wealthy girlfriend Natalie are hosting the visit of a royal family at her mansion, and invites them to spend Christmas there. After the three initially refuse, Kevin accepts the offer after being bullied by Buzz and revels in the mansion's luxuries and its smart remote control system.

The next morning, Peter and Natalie go out while Kevin stays with Natalie's butler Mr. Prescott and maid Molly. Kevin notices his old nemesis Marv and his wife Vera scouting the house. After failing to get Mr. Prescott's attention via the intercom, he drives them away by causing a catastrophic plumbing failure, which floods the lower floors of the mansion. When Peter and Natalie return, they do not believe Kevin's explanation especially since Mr. Prescott claims to have seen nothing. Kevin discovers that the security cameras were turned off during the break-in, leading him to believe that Mr. Prescott is in league with Marv and Vera. To cheer themselves up, Kevin, Peter and Natalie decorate their Christmas tree, although it is later re-trimmed by professional decorators at Natalie's request. Marv informs Vera about Kevin and states that he has an inside person this time.

As the mansion is prepared for a party for the royal family's arrival, Peter and Natalie go to pick them up, while Kevin notices Marv and Vera disguised as caterers. He traps Mr. Prescott in the freezer, overhears and records Marv and Vera's plan to kidnap the prince for ransom, and forces them out of a window. The royal family is unable to attend the party because their flight was cancelled, so Peter and Natalie decide to announce their engagement instead. Marv and Vera run back into the house and pursue Kevin, who accidentally ruins the party by running into the guests and under the desk, knocking over an ice sculpture that turns out to be a frozen Mr. Prescott. Angered, Peter sends Kevin to his room, accusing him of trying to sabotage his relationship with Natalie. Natalie visits Kevin and threatens to evict him if he misbehaves again.

Taking matters into his own hands, Kevin sets up booby traps for Marv and Vera. The next morning, the duo head to the house after Peter and Natalie go to pick up the royals. Kevin tricks and locks Mr. Prescott in the basement, but discovers that Marv and Vera's real ally is Molly, who is also Marv's mother. Kevin gets locked in the basement with Mr. Prescott, who reveals reason the cameras got turned off during the initial break-in was because Marv and Vera turned off the security system with one of the remote controls which control the house, and the reason he didn't see them was because he was taking an unscheduled break from his duties because he despises Natalie, let alone working for her. He and Kevin apologize for misjudging each other, and agree to work together. After several failed attempts to call Kate, Kevin escapes via the house's dumbwaiter and temporarily traps Marv underneath it. Marv and Vera pursue Kevin through the house, where they spring the traps and suffer various injuries, while Molly gets trapped in the elevator.

At the airport, Peter gets worried about Kevin and takes a cab back to Natalie's to check on him. Kate, Buzz, and Megan also drive to the mansion due to the suspicious nature of his calls. Kevin uses an altered recording of Marv's voice to provoke an argument between him and Vera, and knocks them over with a remote-controlled plane. The duo are then tricked by Kevin with a secret wall switch, end up being launched onto a chandelier, and are knocked unconscious by their fall. Molly, having escaped, grabs Kevin and tries to knock him out, but Mr. Prescott, who also escaped via the dumbwaiter, knocks her out first before calling the police. As Peter, Kate, Buzz, and Megan arrive, Kevin, with Buzz and Megan's help, prevents a final escape attempt from Marv and Vera.

The royal family and Natalie arrive, and the criminals' plot to kidnap the prince is revealed to Natalie's shock and confusion as Marv, Vera, and Molly are arrested by the police. Mr. Prescott, per Kevin's advice, resigns from his position as her butler. Realizing that their relationship was built on infatuation rather than love and was affecting his responsibilities as a husband and father, Peter breaks up with Natalie, and reconciles with Kate and their children. Grateful to Kevin for his foiling of the kidnapping plot, the royal family decide to spend Christmas with the newly-reunited McCallisters instead of with Natalie, leaving her devastated.

Cast[edit]

  • Mike Weinberg as Kevin McCallister, the main character. A 9-year-old boy. He defends the house from Marv and Vera. He was originally portrayed by Macaulay Culkin in the first two films.
  • French Stewart as Marvin "Marv" Merchants, Vera's husband and Wet/Sticky Bandits leader Harry Lime's former sidekick. He was originally portrayed by Daniel Stern in the first two films.
  • Missi Pyle as Vera, Marv's sidekick/wife whom Marv first met in prison.
  • Erick Avari as Mr. Prescott, the butler.
  • Barbara Babcock as Molly Merchants, the maid and Marv's mother and Vera's mother-in-law where she serves as their inside person.
  • Jason Beghe as Peter McCallister, Kevin, Buzz, and Megan's father. He was originally portrayed by John Heard in the first two films.
  • Clare Carey as Kate McCallister, Kevin, Buzz, and Megan's mother. She was originally portrayed by Catherine O'Hara in the first two films.
  • Joanna Going as Natalie Kalban, Peter's girlfriend and Buzz, Megan, and Kevin's future stepmother.
  • Gideon Jacobs as Buzz McCallister, Kevin and Megan's older brother. He was originally portrayed by Devin Ratray in the first two films.
  • Chelsea Russo as Megan McCallister, Kevin and Buzz's sister. She was originally portrayed by Hillary Wolf in the first two films.

Production[edit]

Home Alone 4 was filmed in Cape Town, South Africa.[3][4]

Reception[edit]

The film received negative reviews from critics. Clint Morris at Moviehole wrote "From the unappealing cheapish opening titles to the murky production values, it's immediately obvious "Home Alone 4" isn't playing in the same park as its beloved predecessor...sad" and gave it a rating of 1/5.[5] Joly Herman of Common Sense Media gave it 1/5 and described it as "Recycled gags with none of the original's charm."[6] Jerry Roberts of Armchair Media gave the film 1 out of 4 stars.[3]

Sequel[edit]

On March 15, 2012, ABC Family announced that Home Alone: The Holiday Heist was in production, which premiered on that network during the 2012 Christmas season. The film stars Christian Martyn as 10-year-old main character Finn Baxter. The story centers on the family's relocation from California to Maine, where Finn becomes convinced that his new house is haunted. When his parents become stranded across town and Finn is left home alone with his older sister Alexis, he sets traps to catch his new home's ghosts, which instead prove troublesome for a group of thieves (played by Malcolm McDowell, Debi Mazar, and Eddie Steeples). The film also stars Edward Asner, is produced by Fox Television Studios, and is directed by Peter Hewitt.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Home Alone: Taking Back the House". Blu-ray. 2 September 2003. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  2. ^ Borrelli, Christopher (27 September 2011). "'Teen Wolf' director's brutally honest commentary (part 3 of 3)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b Jerry Roberts (May 12, 2005). "Home Alone 4: Takin' Back the House (2002)". Armchair Media.
  4. ^ Stanford, Jill (May 5, 2003). "Cape Town: South Africa's tinseltown". Engineering News. Archived from the original on March 22, 2019. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  5. ^ Clint Morris (October 26, 2003). "Home Alone 4". Moviehole. Archived from the original on 2004-01-19.
  6. ^ Joly Herman (December 21, 2010). "Recycled gags with none of the original's charm". Common Sense Media.
  7. ^ "New Home Alone Movie Coming to ABC Family". ABC Family. March 15, 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-03-20.

External links[edit]