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Not As Good As The First, But Not Dull By Any Means
on April 30, 2005
Sequels are almost never as good as the first one. The only one that is better than the first one is "Mission Impossible 2". There are some like "American Pie", "American Wedding", "The Godfather Part II" and "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation", that are as great as the first ones, but then there are others like "The Godfather Part III", "Wayne's World 2" and "Vegas Vacation" that kill an entire series. "Home Alone 2: Lost In New York" straddles the field. It's nowhere near as good as the first one, but it's really a very good movie nonetheless.
In it, Macaulay Culkin returns as Kevin. After two years of being treated kindly by his parents as an apology for leaving him home alone, he has become the alleged source of problems once again.
The film is different in that Kevin actually isn't "home alone" so to speak. He makes it to the airport for the family's Florida vacation. However, it's the wrong plane he boards. Kevin winds up in New York. Nervous at first, he realizes he brought his dad's luggage with him, and buys his way through Manhattan with his credit card, including an ill fated stay at the plaza hotel. (I find it interesting since I too had an unpleasant stay at the plaza last year, when they lost my only luggage, which was filled with thousands of dollars worth of cds). However, Marv (Daniel Stern) and Harry (Joe Pesci) are back on the streets, also in New York, and soon run into Kevin. You can basically tell what happens in here.
Overall, this film is very good. However, there is one reason this film doesn't get five stars or even four point five. That is because it does not have the warm holiday feeling the first one had. In fact, this film is darker than the first one. One good example is the confrontation at the abandoned house with Marv and Harry. It is much more violent than the first one. Marv is nearly killed when he gets electrocuted. How's that for a family film? Plus, there is one rather disturbing sequence where Kevin is nerrvous because he's alone in the dead of night and meets to really seedy and weird hookers. Then he gets into a cab with a really spooky driver. This may actually frighten the younger fans of the first film. Another sticking point is that I never got into Brenda Fricker's pigeon character (this film's version of the much more enjoyable shovel character from the first film).
However, there are some strong qualities. Catherine O'Hara turns in another strong performance as Kevin's put - upon mother, while the small roles by Donald O'Connor, Tim Curry, Rob Schneider (still a cast member on "Saturday Night Live" at this point) and Donald Trump liven things up. This is nowhere near as good as part one, but definitely worth it.