If you like seeing grown adults getting beaten, hit, pierced, set on fire, and tossed repeatedly on their backs, the Home Alone series is for you.
By this point, after no fewer than five previous features in the franchise, Home Sweet Home Alone might not have much new to offer. But the characters here have a wholesomeness to them that was missing in some of the earlier films.
Less home burglars and more desperate parents about to lose their own home, Ellie Kemper and Rob Delaney are quite sweet as reluctant home invaders Pam and Jeff who play Christmas songs on bells for the elderly in their spare time and apologize to inanimate objects when they run into them.
After an awkwardly-paced introduction with some clunky jokes, the film picks up when the comedy becomes physical. Kemper and Delaney are believable victims with limber frames. A scene where they struggle to help each other climb a tall wall, complete with an ill-timed fart and set in slow motion to children's choir singing, is laugh-out-loud funny.
Same with the sequence of hijinks Max embarks upon when he finds himself alone at home, including iron board-ing down the stairs and building an ice cream sundae directly in his mouth.
Admittedly, there's (still) something iffy about laughing along with a 10-year-old as he brutally injures adults, and some of the falls and hits feel particularly vicious. But the familiar formula has its appeal, and franchise fans will enjoy the expected echoes of earlier editions.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.