"It's bad news for bad guys... again."
Home Alone 3 is the third film in the Home Alone series written and produced by John Hughes. The film is directed by Raja Gosnell, who served as the editor of both original films, and stars Alex D. Linz as Alex Pruitt, a resourceful boy who is left home alone with an illness of chicken pox and has to defend his home from four international spies recruited by a North Korean terrorist organization.
In Hong Kong, a mob boss for a North Korean terrorist organization hires participants and reveals a plan to steal a U.S. $10 million missile cloaking microchip. One of the participants, prolific criminal Petr Beaupre (Krupa), forms a quartet of associates; Earl Unger (Thornton), Burton Jernigan (Dohlen), and Alice Ribbons (Kihlstedt), for this mission.
Beaupre flies to the United States and arrives in Silicon Valley, California, where he meets his associates. A man arrives from AXUS Technologies and gives them the chip, informing them of the item's use. Once he receives the payment, the man and the quartet split up to catch their respective flights at San Francisco International Airport. Prior to leaving, Beaupre orders Alice to conceal the chip using a remote control car in order to sneak it past airport security.
The burglars arrive at the airport and check in for their flights. However, extra security screening procedures result in a luggage mix-up, causing a Chicago-bound elderly passenger named Mrs. Hess (Seldes), who is carrying loaves of sourdough bread in a similar bag, to inadvertently take the quartet's bag containing the remote control car. Alice does not realize this until she discovers the sourdough bread in Mrs. Hess' bag.
Splitting up, the burglars check gates and restaurants but their efforts fail. Beaupre checks the flight information wherein he theorizes that the chip must be on a departing flight, eventually settling for Chicago. Both Mrs. Hess and the quartet arrive in Chicago wherein Alice discovers the toy car. They try to stop Mrs. Hess but fail, however, Jernigan manages to capture the taxicab's number. They later converse with the driver and obtain Mrs. Hess' address.
The Pruitts introduced
8-year-old Alex Pruitt (Alex D. Linz) is given the remote control car by Mrs. Hess for shoveling snow, but she lectures him for scratching numerous itches. After returning home, Alex undresses to discover that he is ill with chickenpox and therefore, must stay home from school. At the same time, the burglars arrive at Mrs. Hess' neighborhood late at night in a rented minivan, wherein they vow to return in the morning. Alice later acquires a house nearby and the burglars use it as their hideout, wherein they start systematically searching each house to find the chip.
While at home, Alex sees the quartet on lookout for the chip through his telescope. Upon discovering Beaupre in a neighbor's house, he alerts the police. However, the quartet leaves the house before the police arrive. After Alex reports the burglars again the next day, they still manage to flee, and the police do not believe him (similar to Aesop's fable of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf"). His mother Karen (Haviland Morris) and his father Jack (Kevin Kilner) refuse to believe him, as do his siblings Stan (Seth Smith) and Molly (Scarlett Johansson).
Spying on the burglars and the chip discovered
Alex decides to take matters into his own hands, and mounts a camera on his remote control car, attempting to film some footage of the quartet as they search every house for the chip. He successfully films Beaupre, but the remote control car is discovered before it can get away, and Beaupre takes the tape. A chase ensues wherein Alex manages to outrun them, while three of the burglars suffer minor injuries.
Wondering what the quartet wants with a remote control car, Alex opens it and discovers the stolen chip. He immediately calls Chicago's Air Force Recruitment Center and informs them about the chip, leaving his number and address and instructing them to forward it to the proper authorities. Later that night, the quartet pose as the Clovis family and ask the Pruitts about the toy car, to which Karen replies that Alex has a similar toy car, which was given to him by Mrs. Hess. The quartet then realizes Alex has the chip and decide to pursue him.
Setting the traps
As a snowstorm hits Chicago by midnight, Alex sets the traps which includes filling up a water balloon, setting a Santa flower pot by the attic window, getting Stan's radioactive fireworks and setting them up in the snow fort, setting up a trunk full of books by the attic window, setting a spring-loaded boxing glove in the front coat closet, setting up an electrified yarn fence, putting marbles underneath the welcome mat, and removing the pool diving board to put the trampoline in its place.
By morning, Alice poses as a blind woman with a guide dog to try to infiltrate the Pruitt home but Alex manages to foil the act by using a dog whistle to fool the dog. After the dog drags Alice and runs off, Alex frees him and returns it to their neighbor and friend, Johnny Allen (Zachary Lee).
Springing the traps
The burglars block off the road to the house, while Karen calls Mrs. Hess to check on Alex. As Jernigan and Unger make the final preparations, Beaupre and Alice pose as a couple who has just moved to the neighborhood and meets Mrs. Hess, wherein they discuss of a delivery package addressed to them being left in the latter's garage door by mistake. As Beaupre waits, Mrs. Hess leads Alice to the garage to find the supposed package. There, Alice duct tapes Mrs. Hess to a chair, and leaves the door open, while Alex prepares to set the traps off with his pet mouse, Doris, and the loud-mouthed pet parrot (Darren T. Knaus) of Stan.
Jernigan goes around to the side of the house and sits down in a lawn chair wired to a golf cart battery, wherein he is electrocuted and a hole is blown through his suit in the groin area. Unger also suffers the same fate when trying to cut the yarn fence in the front of the house. In anger, he jumps over the fence and lands on the welcome mat with the marbles underneath it, which causes him to get poked by the door knocker. Beaupre shows up and disables the traps before cutting a wire, thinking that he is clever, which causes the trunk full of books to crash through the attic window and hit them on the head. Out back, Jernigan gets soaked by a garden hose. Alex then cuts a string that was holding a huge barbell on the gutter, which then slips off the gutter and lands on Beaupre and Unger.
The quartet decide to split up. Beaupre would go in the front, Unger would take the north side, and Alice would take the south side. Beaupre attempts to open the front door, but Alex screwed it shut. Thus, Beaupre injures his back by pulling too hard on the door. Unger then gets hit by a water balloon and Plaster of Paris. Alice tries to open the fence gate, but gets her glove caught in adhesive glue and loses it. Alex then sprays Beaupre with black spray paint through the mail slot, making it look like he's wearing a domino mask. He gets mad, and gets a cutter and uses it to cut the door open.
Meanwhile, Alice jumps over the gate, but she gets caught in mud and falls on a string attached to a Santa flower pot, which hits her on the head. Jernigan then sees an open window on the second floor and goes to the garage to get a ladder. He sees a pair of shoes sticking out from the ceiling and thinks it's Alex, but it's actually a stuffed monkey attached to a lawnmower cord. Jernigan pulls the monkey, which makes the lawnmower start up and fall through the ceiling onto his head, giving him an awful haircut. Meanwhile, Unger gets hit in the head by a window. Beaupre cuts open the front door and opens it, but a string attached to the door is also attached to a crying doll in the coat closet. Beaupre thinks it is Alex and opens the door and gets hit by the spring-loaded boxing glove. He falls on his shotgun, which fires a bullet. Unger gets his feet in adhesive glue due to stepping into two Mega Blocks carts with wheels. Jernigan climbs through the window using the ladder and spots Alex, but falls through the floor and into the basement and lands on a toilet and crushes it.
Alice thinks she is smart when she discovers Alex sawed the steps in half, and uses the hand rails to swing to the porch, not knowing they were also sawed, causing her to fall on the steps and injure her back in the process. Inside the house, Beaupre steps on a whoopie cushion with speakers around it, which startles him. Alice snaps her back into place and does a bunch of flips onto the porch, but she falls through a loose plank of boards down to the basement. Beaupre hears her and goes outside. He falls, too, and crushes her. Unger heads to the basement, but he trips over a barrier, falls down the stairs, gets his fingers caught in a mousetrap, accidentally shoots a toilet pipe with his gun, and gets drenched with raw sewage.
Karen suddenly calls Alex on the phone, and he lies by saying he is playing Chinese checkers with Mrs. Hess. Alice, Jernigan, and Unger go upstairs and search for Alex. Unger sees him hide in the closet, but they think he is an idiot when he opens the door and only sees laundry. Alex hides in the sack attached to the door.
Jernigan and Alice go into Molly's bedroom and they think Alex is fast asleep in the bed, but it is actually another stuffed monkey with a beach ball under it, and they soon realize it was not Alex. Alex whispers to Doris to go. She runs up Jernigan's leg into his pants. Alice screams and asks Jernigan not to move. But, Doris escapes before Alice could smack her with a field hockey stick, and hits Jernigan instead. Unger and Alice attempt to grab Alex by the attic door, but they bang their heads together, and Unger gets hit by the attic door when Alex closes it. Jernigan complains to Alice for hitting his groin, yelling "You smacked my winkie!", but she says if he'd change his shorts in a while, he wouldn't have "rats in his pants".
Alex flees to the attic and takes the dumbwaiter down to the basement, then runs outside and calls to Alice, Jernigan and Unger. The trio sees Alex and notice a trampoline below them. Jernigan and Unger jump, but the trampoline gives way and they fall into the frozen swimming pool. Alice then wriggles her way into the dumbwaiter shaft, but falls down to the basement and suffers temporary paralysis, as Alex had removed the bottom before escaping the house.
As Alex flees to Mrs. Hess' garage, he rescues her where in Beaupre comes out of hiding and corners Alex, threatening to kill him if he doesn't give up the chip. Alex manages to scare him off with a bubble gun painted to resemble a Glock.
FBI tipoff and the quartet's defeat
In the San Francisco offices of the FBI, Agent Stuckey (Christopher Curry) calls for a conference on their mission to track the chip and reveals the travel records of the burglars. Following a tipoff from the Air Force Recruitment Center, the agents stop at Alex's school and speaks to the Pruitts, wherein Stuckey reveals that Alex has already been at risk after discovering the chip. With police escort, Karen brings the agents to their house, where the authorities arrest Alice, Jernigan and Unger. The family and the police apologize to Alex for not believing him earlier, and Agent Stuckey thanks him for his help.
However, Beaupre manages to escape and hides in the snow fort in the backyard. Stan's pet parrot drives the remote control car into the snow fort and threatens to light fireworks which are lined around the inside. Beaupre offers a cracker, but the parrot demands two. Since he only has one, the parrot then lights the fireworks, and escapes. Beaupre's cover is literally blown, and the police arrest him as well.
Later, the Pruitts hold a celebration for Alex's success while their house is being repaired. Mrs. Hess, who befriends Alex after he successfully rescues her, attends the celebration with the FBI and the police wherein they are joined by Jack, who returns home from a work trip in Cleveland. As Jack surprises Alex with another remote control car, the burglars are having their mugshots taken and are shown to have contracted the chickenpox.
- Alex D. Linz as Alex Pruitt
- Olek Krupa as Petr Beaupre
- Rya Kihlstedt as Alice Ribbons
- Lenny von Dohlen as Burton Jernigan
- David Thornton as Earl Unger
- Haviland Morris as Karen Pruitt
- Kevin Kilner as Jack Pruitt
- Marian Seldes as Mrs. Hess
- Seth Smith as Stan Pruitt
- Scarlett Johansson as Molly Pruitt
- Christopher Curry as Agent Stuckey
- Baxter Harries as Police Captain
- James Saito as Mob Boss
- Kevin Gudahl as Techie
- Richard Hamilton as Cab Driver
- Freeman Coffey as Recruiting Officer
- Krista Lally as Dispatcher
- Neil Flynn as Police Officer #1
- Tony Mockus Jr. as Police Officer #2 (as Tony Mockus Jr.)
- Pat Healy as Agent Rogers
- James Chisem as Police Officer #3 (as James L. Chisem)
- Darwin Harris as Mugshot Photographer (as Darwin L. Harris)
- Adrianne Duncan as Flight Attendant
- Sharon Sachs as Annoying Woman
- Joseph Luis Caballero as Security Guard (as Joseph L. Caballero)
- Larry C. Tankson as Cart Driver
- Jennifer A. Daley as Police Photographer #2 (as Jennifer Daley)
- Darren T. Knaus as Parrot (voice)
The film was pitched at the same time as Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, and it was planned to produce both movies simultaneously; however, those plans fell through.
The idea for a third Home Alone movie was revived in the mid-1990s; early drafts called for Culkin to return as a teenage version of his character. However, Culkin had dropped out of acting. As a result, the idea was changed to make an entirely new film centering on a new cast of characters. It was filmed in Chicago and Evanston, Illinois, with the airport scenes being shot in two different concourses at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.
The film grossed $79,000,000 worldwide. Critical reception for the film was generally negative upon release. It holds a 27% "rotten" rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 21 reviews and was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for "Worst Remake or Sequel." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, however, gave the film a positive review (3 out of 4 stars) and says he found it to be "fresh, very funny, and better than the first two".
Changes in novelization
- The Stephan's address is 724 Washington Street instead of 3015 Washington Street.
- Instead of Alex saying "The question is, what is it?", he says "The question was, what was it?".
- There was a dog at the Alcott's house instead of a cat.
- Home Alone 3 is the only film in the franchise to be released, but not to take place around or during Christmastime; instead, it took place after the holidays. This is proven by the following factors.
- Jernigan questions a cab driver about Mrs. Hess stating "You had a fare from the airport around 1620 hours January 8th..."
- Karen Pruitt storing Christmas decorations and Christmas ornaments in the attic while talking on the phone.
- There are some scenes in the film that depict school (i.e., boarding the bus, and the FBI agents heading to the school to interrogate Karen, Stan, and Molly).
- It was originally going to have Macaulay Culkin return as Kevin and he would face a new pair of burglars, however, Macaulay Culkin got tired of the role and was now a teenager.
- Haviland Morris (Karen Pruitt), Scarlett Johansson (Molly Pruitt), and Catherine O'Hara (Kate McCallister) all had red hair.
- This film, along with Home Alone 2, are the only two movies that showed the burglars with firearms. A minor difference should be noted.
- Home Alone 3 had the villains actually fire guns unlike Home Alone 2, wherein the villains only threatened the main character with a firearm but the attempt to shoot a rescuer fails due to the gun being soaked in varnish.
- After filming concluded, David Thornton (Earl Unger) got a very short haircut. This was why his character appeared in the picture of the back of the VHS/DVD case with short hair.
- According to Mrs. Hess, the burglars and her were going to Chicago from San Francisco.
- The plan to get the chip back was an over-complicated, risky and time-consuming one. The four burglars knew the description of Mrs. Hess and the neighborhood she lives in. They could have knocked on the door of one of the houses, asked for a woman that matches her description, and when her neighbor told them which house it is, they would have knocked on her door and given her bread back to get on her good side. She would then not have any reason not to tell them that she gave the toy car to Alex as payment (or where he lived). Then Petr and Alice could have posed as a couple (just like they did with Mrs. Hess in the movie) and claim the toy was meant for their child, and offer the family a sum of money (which they have, as they buy an entire house to stake out the neighborhood). They would have gotten the chip the very same night and be on their way.
- Macaulay Culkin refused to do this film simply because he'd grown tired of the role and felt that there was nothing else he could've done with it.
- The first major role for Scarlett Johansson.
- Originally it was planned to film the second film and this film back-to-back.
- This was the final film of John Hughes' five-picture contract with Twentieth Century-Fox, to write, produce or direct after the success of the original Home Alone (1990). He wrote and produced Dutch (1991), Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), Baby's Day Out (1994), Miracle on 34th Street (1994), and Home Alone 3 (1997).
- Home Alone 3 was the last film of the series to be released theatrically. Home Alone 4 (2002) and Home Alone: The Holiday Heist (2012) were both made-for-television movies while Home Sweet Home Alone was streamed.
- The original concept involved Macaulay Culkin's character, Kevin McCallister, returning as a teenager. However, the plan was scrapped as Culkin dropped out of acting three years earlier as he thought he was outgrowing "childish" roles.
- A rare positive review came from Chicago film critic Roger Ebert, whom on his TV show Siskel & Ebert (1986) called the film better than the first one. Gene Siskel nearly fell off his chair in disbelief at this remark.
- The first film of the series which was not directed by Chris Columbus or featured music by John Williams
- An exception is an excerpt of Williams' theme score, which is heard in the opening titles.
- The role of Alex was a coveted one, with over 100 kids trying out for the part. Alex D. Linz won the part, beating another child star, Philip Petrie, who had also tried out for the part of Sammy in One Fine Day (1996), a role also taken by Alex D. Linz.
- The film is completely independent of the original movies. There no mention of Kevin or the McCallisters. The only connection to the first two films is the Chicago suburbs, where the original film takes place, O'Hare International Airport, a character getting his region hit by a crowbar and a portion of John Williams' score during the opening credits. Marv and Harry were not mentioned either.
- At one stage the script was considered being filmed as a television pilot, but in the end the studio decided to go ahead and make it as a feature film. The reverse would later happen with Home Alone 4, which was originally intended to be a stand-alone TV movie, but was restructured during production to serve as a pilot for a TV series that ultimately never went ahead.
- The directorial debut of Raja Gosnell, who acted as the editor for the first two films.
- The Scene where Alice hits Jernigan in the groin with a field hockey stick is similar to the original movie where Marv hits Harry with a crowbar; they both say "Don't Move" to their partner.
- Haviland Morris appeared in Sixteen Candles (1984) thirteen years earlier, another film written by John Hughes (also directed).
- Alex shovels snow for the grouchy Mrs. Hess whom he fears, but later gets to know. In the original movie, Old Man Marley shovels snow and is feared by Kevin because it is rumored that he is a serial killer.
- In the first two movies, the McCallister's lived on Lincoln Blvd. In this movie, the Pruitt's live on Washington St.
- The one and only product placement the first two films share with this one is the use of American Airlines and Zenith televisions.
- Marv and Harry from the first two films, but when Culkin and the rest of the first two films cast declined to have any involvement with this sequel John Hughes refused to make any reference or connection to the previous installments.
- Seth Smith (Stan) previously had a cameo in Getting Even with Dad (1994), which also starred Macaulay Culkin, who played Kevin in the first two films.
- When Macaulay Culkin declined to reprise his role as Kevin for the third outing, John Hughes briefly considered writing the screenplay with Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern reprising their roles as burglars Harry and Marv, respectively who target Kevin's cousin Fuller (Macaulay's real life brother Kieran Culkin), and Fuller would be the main character with Gerry Bamman and Terrie Snell reprising their roles and Fuller's parents Frank and Leslie respectively, who go on vacation and leave Fuller home alone, to defend himself against Marv and Harry. The idea was scrapped as Pesci and Stern refused to reprise their roles and went on to pursue other projects, and Kieran felt he could not follow in his brother's footsteps as the lead. Hughes then re-wrote an entirely different screenplay without any of the characters from the preceding films.
- Olek Krupa, Marian Seldes, Haviland Morris, Lenny von Dohlen, and David Thornton, have all performed on Broadway and at one time or another have been frequent guest stars on the NBC series Law & Order (1990) and its spinoffs.
- In Home Alone 3, the burglars (except Petr Beaupre) are wearing white camouflage suits during their mission to get the computer chip back from Alex. But in some of the movie posters for the film the burglars are seen wearing black suits. It is unknown if this was a design that didn't make it into the movie or if this was an error.
- Three of the actors who play the four burglars are foreign or of foreign descent. Olek Krupa is Polish and was born and raised in Poland but immigrated to the United States many years ago. Lenny Von Dohlen and Rya Kihlstedt are Americans who have European ancestry; Von Dohlen is German though his father while Kihlstedt is Swedish.
- During the raid on the Pruitt house, Jernigan and Unger are wearing snow camouflage hunting coveralls with white shotgun shell belts (the former is even seen loading his in a previous scene), which makes no sense, as the only one of the four burglars who's armed with a shotgun is Beaupre (he cocks it after he enters the house - it goes off when he's hit in the groin and falls on his butt), meaning Jernigan and Unger are carrying live ammunition that they cannot use (since the only weapons on their person are their silenced Glocks). This was likely done purely as a visual gag, as when Jernigan is electrocuted, his shotgun shells fire (while still on the belt!).
- This film was the first in the franchise to have a female villain.
- This is the second theatrical Home Alone movie after "Lost In New York" in which fireworks are used as a signal to the police to show them the villains' location.
|Home Alone franchise|
|Films||Home Alone • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York • Home Alone 3 • Home Alone 4 • Home Alone: The Holiday Heist • Home Sweet Home Alone|
|Novelizations||Home Alone • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York|
|YouTube||:DRYVRS: Just Me In The House By Myself • Home Alone Wet Bandit Resurfaces and Responds to Kevin McCalister's Threatening Video • Home Alone Again with the Google Assistant|
|Soundtracks||Home Alone • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York • Home Alone 3|
|Video games||Home Alone • Home Alone 2 • Home Alone (2006)|