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On Nov. 20, 1992, 20th Century Fox unveiled Home Alone 2: Lost in New York in theaters, where it would go on to gross $358 million worldwide. The Hollywood Reporter’s original review is below:
With John Hughes’ Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, 20th Century Fox doesn’t have merely a cash cow, it has a cash herd.
Writer-producer Hughes and director Chris Columbus have wrapped up the same winning story ornaments from 1990’s holiday smash, repackaged them in gleaming array and topped them with a sparkling slapstick climax. While some Scrooge-ish adults may niggle that this sequel is merely a superimposition of the original, kids will be delighted by its keeping all their favorite goodies.
This Christmas the McCallister clan has decided to vacation in Florida, which doesn’t sit well with traditional-minded Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) who casts a dim eye on holiday trips to tropical climes. Once again, the frantic family’s pre-trip chaos causes Kevin to be left in the lurch — he accidentally boards the wrong plane, one headed for New York. Well, New York has snow and it has Christmas trees and, by a stroke of handbag mixup, Kevin has his dad’s cash and credit cards.
Like Frank Sinatra, Kevin is taken by New York, New York. He quickly inveigles his way into the Plaza and partakes of the high life — room service, horror videos. Once again, the funnest part of this merriment is when Kevin hoodwinks authority figures, most prominently the hotel’s fey concierge (Tim Curry).
But not all is soda pop and sundaes in the luxury suite, the two Wet Bandits (Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern) have escaped and landed, smack dab in the Big Apple. They’ve adapted their professional skills for the times, given up on home burglaries and set their beady eyes on Christmas tills, namely the cash register of a kindly toy store owner (Eddie Bracken) who has earmarked his holiday take for a children’s hospital.
Once again, tow-haired Kevin is the fly in their oily ointment, the only obstacle to their dastardly deeds. Building expertly to a smash-crash finale, as Kevin once again concocts an assemblage of wacky Rube Goldberg torture devices to thwart and thwack the burglars, Home Alone 2 is a frothily stirred merriment. Like most holiday delectations, it’s a little gooey — Kevin gives sympathetic advice to a homeless bird woman (Brenda Fricker) — but its sentiments are on the kind side.
Kids will yowl with glee at this rendition’s stoked-up slapstick. Kevin’s mechanical onslaught has a cartoon-ish furor, so furious and so brutal are his ploys. While this may strike some as sadistic, director Chris Columbus has shrewdly infused them with a Wile E. Coyote-ish quality and the mayhem emerges as good comical fun.
Culkin is breezily winning once again as the self-reliant kid alone, while Pesci and Stern deserve combat metals (especially Stern) to the bricks and slings they endure. Curry as the fuss-budget concierge is a terrific foil for Kevin’s pranks, while Devin Ratray as Kevin’s luggish brother Buzz once again is aptly offensive.
Technical contributions wrap the production in the finest of holiday shades. Sandy Veneziano’s sentimental and sumptuous production design and John Williams’ rousingly lush music are perfect garnishments. — Duane Byrge, originally published on Nov. 16, 1992.
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