Gutenfilm Presents: A Christmas Beeracle: Home Alone 3
Christmas is over, but A Christmas Beeracle is not yet finished. There are still a few more awful Christmas movies left to suffer through.
It took the folks over at Fox two movies to apparently figure out what the Home Alone series was missing: military technology in the hands of a little kid who isn’t Macaulay Culkin! Such is the plot of Home Alone 3: terrorists hide a dangerous chip in a remote-controlled car so they can sneak it through customs. Since the airport has dozens of bags that all look identical, the car winds up in different hands and is later given to Not Macaulay Culkin (Alex D. Linz). The terrorists arrive in Chicago, somehow manage to find Not Culkin’s neighborhood, and immediately start breaking into the houses one by one to find the car. Not Culkin tries calling the police, but when the police show up and barely miss the robbers, the adults get mad at the youngster and don’t believe his protests, as all parents and adults in these types of films do. Not Culkin must take matters into his own hands, devising ingenious traps to humiliate and harm the bad guys as much as possible, until the adults figure out how stupid they are and come to arrest the crooks.
Not Culkin is going to grow up to be a very creative murder. He’s already a (fairly adorable) sociopath, using his telescope to spy on the neighbors, control their TV sets (because any remote will work on any TV, apparently), and devising traps that would likely be deadly in real life. No doubt about it, this kid is going to be a villain when he grows up. He even has a white rat with red eyes named Doris for a pet. One of Not Culkin’s traps is a chair that sends thousands of watts coursing through one of the terrorists (which in real life would likely kill a man). Others send startlingly heavy objects hurtling into the heads of the other antagonists, one of the instances being a running lawnmower. You could make a drinking game out of how many times one of the terrorists plummets two or more stories. It’s kind of funny, but really just very dark when you think about it. For their part, the terrorists bring loaded guns and knives to the house with which they clearly intend to do as many horribly violent things to Not Culkin as they can, starting with tying up the neighbor in the garage and leaving the door open so she almost freezes to death.
The terrorists themselves are somehow either incredibly stupid and clumsy, or technological geniuses, as they are able to hack into Not Culkin’s family’s phone lines and reroute calls (the reason for doing so actually being really stupid and based on chance), yet when it comes time to break into the house, they’re suddenly idiots. They meticulously and inexplicably track the chip to Not Culkin’s house, but they blindly run around ignoring the very obvious traps. It’s really weird how quickly the characters switch gears, but it’s all for the service of the “hilarious” hijinks.
There are also heaping servings of John Hughes feel-goodness here as well. The cruel older siblings eventually come through for Not Culkin, such as when his sister, played by a very young Scarlett Johansson, verbally bullies an Air Force general into divulging military secrets just by saying, “That’s my little brother you’re talking about.” Not Culkin does adorable things such as call the bad guys knuckleheads, and a cranky old neighbor turns out to actually just be a really sweet woman.
To be fair, there were a couple things that made me laugh here. As violent as some of the traps are, I did chuckle at some of them, and in a touch that actually legitimately amused me, every law enforcement official in the movie appears to be channeling as many 90s action movie tropes as possible: on the two burglary calls, the police roar up to the house with their guns drawn and kick the doors off their hinges, splinters flying. The Air Force cars are preceded by massive snow plows that tip over a minivan in their militaristic haste to get to the microchip. It seems that a lot of kids’ films have this type of violent law enforcement types, and it’s still amusing here.
It’s a bright spot in a boring, stupid movie. It’s almost not a Christmas movie, making only one or two mentions of the holiday and featuring some Christmas decorations and snow, but there’s nothing here actually about Christmas besides being around the same time as Christmas. It’s just plain bad, like everything else in this feature. And that’s a good thing, kind of. A Christmas Beeracle is drawing to a close, and I have some truly awful ones coming up. I’m not ready. Are you?