In the film industry, every appalling thing you see is the result of a bad decision happening at some point during the production process. Sometimes you can put these decisions down to inexperience, overconfidence, or incorrectly predicting market trends but more often than not, they come from someone who really should have known better.
Whether it’s because those people have experience in their respective fields that should have stopped those decisions dead in their tracks, or because the decision was stupid and/or utterly insane. And because comedy is a harder minefield to negotiate than other genres, there are a lot of appalling comedy films from studio executives and filmmakers who really should have known better…
10. Home Alone 4 (2002, Dir. Rod Daniel)
What Was The Comedy?
A TV movie sequel to Home Alone that acted as a pilot for a potential TV series.
Why Was It Appalling?
Other than it being your standard “It’s for kids so let’s not really put a lot of effort in” type of film, it doesn’t feel like a real Home Alone film. Two of Kevin’s four siblings are left out of the film with no explanation, Kevin and the two siblings who are in the film are played by younger actors than previously, and every returning character has been recast, giving it the air of a remake rather than a sequel. In fact, it could have easily been a completely unrelated film that had the characters’ names changed and a few token references to the other Home Alone films added at the last minute.
It’s a cheap attempt to cash in on a dead franchise without any of the original thematic elements other than cartoonish slapstick which itself is kind of pointless given that Kevin is never alone at any point, and that his decision to set traps for the villains is completely arbitrary since the house he is staying in has live-in staff, at least one of whom is always home at every point in the film.
Who Should Have Known Better?
The Disney and Fox executives who decided to try and revive the franchise.
Why Should They Have Known Better?
The premise of Home Alone lasts for exactly one film. Home Alone 2 was a stretch but at least had the original cast in a new setting to capture the spirit of the original, and Home Alone 3 was a disaster with completely new characters that felt more like a knock-off that appropriated the Home Alone title than a sequel. By this point there was nothing original that could be done with it other than changing the setting and coming up with a few new traps.
Also, the Home Alone craze of the early 1990s where every filmmaker and his dog was ripping off the whole “Plucky child sets traps for bad guys” idea was long dead by this point. After Home Alone became a hit, everybody wanted a piece of that action and ran the idea into the ground within a few years until everyone had had their fill of it. Not to mention that sequels to a film with a premise that can’t change very much need the original cast to attract fans of the franchise. Which would have never worked anyway since everyone from the original was far too old to do another Home Alone. Which makes this film a Catch 22 in terms of casting. They couldn’t bring back the original Kevin McCallister because Macaulay Culkin was 22 years old when the film was released, and because whoever was cast as the new Kevin just wouldn’t be as good as Culkin.
This article was first posted on August 9, 2013