Home Alone 4 (also known as Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House or Home Alone: Taking Back the House) is the fourth film in the Home Alone series, directed by Rod Daniel, which first aired on ABC on November 3, 2002 and is the fourth film in the Home Alone series and the first to be made-for-television film.
The film brings back several of the main characters from the first two films including Kevin McCallister, but with all the roles played by different actors. The plot revolves around Kevin (Mike Weinberg) trying to defend his future stepmother's house from Marv (French Stewart) and his wife Vera (Missi Pyle) who takes place for Harry (Dave Foley). Many people criticize French Stewart's performance while others call it hilarious and great.
This film acts as a loose sequel or "soft reboot" due to the absence of any of the regular cast and a different storyline that does not reflect the continuity of the first two films. Home Alone: The Holiday Heist (which has nothing to do with this film) followed ten years later in 2012.
|Mike Weinberg||Kevin McCallister|
|French Stewart||Marv Murchins|
|Missi Pyle||Vera Murchins|
|Erick Avari||Mr. Prescott|
|Joanna Going||Natalie Kalban|
|King and Queen|
|The Crown Prince|
Sean Cameron Michael
The Police Officer
|The Taxi Driver|
At the McCallisters' house, Peter (Jason Beghe) is about to get divorced from Kate (Clare Carey) after being married for years, and announces that he's living with his new and rich girlfriend Natalie (Joanna Going) at her mansion. He tells his three children Buzz (Gideon Jacobs), Megan (Chelsea Russo), and 9-year-old Kevin (Mike Weinberg) that they are hosting the visit of a royal family and invites everyone to spend Christmas with him and Natalie. After initially refusing, Kevin takes his father up on his offer after being tormented by Buzz.
Kevin enjoys his time at Natalie's mansion with his new bedroom, latest gadgets and his life. In the next morning, Peter and Natalie go out for a bit while Kevin stays at the mansion with Natalie's butler Mr. Prescott (Erick Avari) and maid Molly (Barbara Babcock). While Mr. Prescott makes Kevin a milkshake, he goes into the security room and gets caught by Mr. Prescott who gives Kevin another chance. With Peter and Natalie still away, Kevin notices his old nemesis Marv (French Stewart), a remaining member of the Wet/Sticky Bandits (after ditching his last partner Hary who is probably still in jail) and new sidekick/wife Vera (Missi Pyle) outside the house. Kevin tries to contact Mr. Prescott on the intercom, but for some reason he doesn't respond. He then spies on them and drive them away by flooding the house, but Peter and Natalie arrive while Kevin is cleaning up and don't believe Kevin's explanation, especially since Mr. Prescott claims to have seen nothing. While driving, Marv tells Vera about his encounters with Kevin and states that they have someone on the inside to help them in their plot. Kevin then attempts to use the security camera footage to prove himself, but discovers that the camera had been turned off and is caught by Mr. Prescott (who Kevin now believes to be Marv and Vera's ally). Molly then appears and gets Kevin out of trouble. Peter and Natalie go into their bedroom, Peter starts massaging Natalie's shoulders with pleasure to take advantage of his alone time with Natalie, then realize they gave Kevin a hard time and decide to make him feel better, so the three of them decide to decorate the tree together.
The next morning Peter and Kevin wake up and realize their tree was replaced because of Natalie. Kate, Buzz and Megan then decided to visit Kevin. Kate meets Natalie in person and Kevin shows the entire house to Buzz and Megan. At a party for the royal family while Peter and Natalie have gone to pick them up, Kevin notices Marv and Vera dressed up as caterers. Mr. Prescott warns Kevin about the night so he then tricks Mr. Prescott into going into the freezer room and he ends up locked in and frozen in ice. Kevin then spies on Marv and Vera in his bedroom and hears them planning about kidnapping the prince. Unfortunately for them, Kevin makes sure that their plan was a failure and has them fall out and break the window. The royal family are unable to attend the party because their flight was cancelled, so Peter and Natalie instead announce their engagement. Marv and Vera run back into the house and Kevin hits Marv with a frying pan, flips the table and get soup spilled on Marv and Vera. They then chase Kevin, who accidentally ruins the party by bumping and knocking over the guests and caters. Peter is angered at this event, still refusing to believe Kevin about the break-in for he believes that Kevin is trying to end his relationship with Natalie.
Since no one believes him about the heist, Kevin decides to deal with matters himself, and sets booby traps for Marv and Vera. The next morning, Peter and Natalie go get the royals and Kevin is left back at the house. Marv and Vera wake up and head to the house. Kevin tricks and locks Mr. Prescott in the basement, but then he discovers Marv and Vera's real ally is actually Molly who also turns out to be Marv's mother as well.
Kevin gets locked in the basement with Mr. Prescott, who then reveals to Kevin that the reason he didn't see Marv and Vera when they first broke in was because he was napping on the job. He reveals that he hates his job and that, during the times Natalie is away, he takes secret breaks, which, if he'd gotten caught, would lead to Natalie ordering him with more work hours; he lied about keeping watch on the security cameras to cover up his secret well-deserved breaks, not to help Marv and Vera. After apologizing to Mr. Prescott for misjudging him (and vice-versa), Kevin tries to call Buzz using Mr. Prescott's phone, but he just jeers and hangs up on him. He then tries to call his mom, but they get disconnected due to the phone loosing power. Then while trying to call Kevin back Kate is told by a lying Molly that Kevin is with Peter. When Kate calls Peter about Kevin, he denies this, causing both Kate and Peter to become suspicious.
With help from Mr. Prescott Kevin manages to escape through the dumbwaiter. He then unleashes his traps on Marv and Vera. Molly hears the commotion and tries to stop Kevin, resulting in Kevin trapping her in the elevator. At the airport, Peter's suspicions about the confusion about Kevin gets him worried about Kevin and leaves Natalie to get the royals as he goes back to Natalie's mansion to check on him. Back in the basement, Mr. Prescott then manages to escape through the dumbwaiter as well wanting to see if Kevin is alright. Just on the road, Kate, Buzz and Megan are on their way to save Kevin as well since Kate also was suspicious. Marv heads to the bedroom and ends up getting caught and stuck under the bookshelf. Kevin then plays a recording of Marv, making it sound like he's insulting Vera, which causes them to argue. Marv then gets hit by Kevin's electric aircraft making him fall and rumble down the stairs. Marv and Vera are then tricked by Kevin with a secret wall switch, end up swinging from a chandelier, and they fall and are knocked unconscious. When smugly wishing them a merry Christmas, Molly had escaped from the elevator and grabs Kevin threatening him with a pan, but Mr. Prescott knocks her out with a serving tray. Then, he and Kevin call the police who then arrive at the same time the others arrive.
As Peter, Kate, Buzz and Megan arrive, Kevin, with Buzz and Megan's help, chases Marv and Vera out of the house, and Megan and Buzz trip them up when they run out of the house. The royal family and Natalie arrive, and Natalie is confused when she sees Molly getting arrested. An FBI agent reveals that Molly's the boss and that she, Marv and Vera masterminded the plot to abduct the prince.
With that, Peter breaks up with Natalie (admitting to her that he mistook infatuation and excitement for love, and that her mansion and everything in it is her world, not his). Mr. Prescott resigns, and the royals decides to spend Christmas with the McCallisters; so, it is a good Christmas for everyone except for Natalie, Marv, Vera, and Molly.
The film was widely panned by reviews from critics and fans of the first two movies. At Rotten Tomatoes the film currently has no score on the tomatometer, with 2 rotten reviews, but it does have a 40% user rating. Criticisms were based on how Home Alone 4 doesn't seem to fit into the same chronological timeline as the first two movies, based on the film's inferior cast and script. Several reviews also criticised the film for low-budget production values. The film currently holds a low rating of 2.5 out of 10 at IMDB. Some people have called it a masterpiece in its own way. One critic had this to say, "I don't get it. This movie is brilliant. Grant it, I was high while watching it, but it was brilliant. French Stewart is...he gives a sad and heart breathtakingly amazing performance. Again, high."
Unmade Television Series
The producers had hoped that this movie would lead to a Home Alone TV series if popular enough, several of the main cast members had clauses in their contracts that would have bought them back for such a series. However the movie failed to perform up to expectations in the ratings, and the series was never commissioned.
In the movie's original ending, Kevin's parents didn't get back together. His father stayed with Natalie, and his mother started dating a police officer who turned out to be Marv's younger, more honest brother. This was changed when the producers decided they wanted the film to set up a TV series, and so Kevin's parents did get back together at the end, while the police officer was deleted altogether from the script.
The only information on the TV Show was that it centered around Kevin again, and Mr. Prescott was also his butler. In the first episode of the TV Show, Marv returned as the main antagonist along with Vera and plotted to rob the McCallister household to full-fill a goal he and Harry set out to do in the first movie. The producers had also intended for new child characters to be featured and new antagonists, and the children created their own special neighbourhood watch in which they entrapped and captured potential villains trying to rob the houses.
The film has only a loose continuity with the first two films, which gives the impression of it being a spiritual sequel, a loose reboot, or a standalone film.
- Kevin states to be 9 years old in the film, even though in the first movie, it is stated a couple of times that he is 8 and in the second one he tells Cedric that he's 10 (even though technically he should be 9 in the second movie as it takes place a year after the first one, but it seems obvious that Kevin was possibly lying about his age). Kevin should be at most 11–12 years old in this film. It can't take place in-between Home Alone or Home Alone 2 as Kevin is seen watching a video of his family spending Christmas together, even though they were away.
- His siblings Linnie and Jeff are completely absent with no explanation. Buzz and Megan are treated like his only two siblings as backed up by Kevin's line that he wishes he never had a brother or a sister (though they could be visiting relatives). What's more, Buzz and Megan look much younger to their original appearance. In addition, Frank, Leslie, Rob, Georgette, the cousins Fuller, Brooke, Tracy, Rod, Sondra, Heather, Steffan, and the McCallister twins are not mentioned or seen either.
- Although recasting is common in media and film, the characters don't resemble their original counterparts from the first two films at all. Marv especially is given the appearance of a taller Harry and wears almost the same exact attire to him.
- Kate says that they're going to put out milk and cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve, but the fact that they were still there the following morning when Kevin did this in the first film should've told him that Santa isn't real and therefore resulted in Kevin no longer believing in him.
- In this movie, Kevin is shown to have a teddy bear, which is stated by Peter and Kate to be his most transitional possession and that he can't go anywhere without him. Yet, there is no point in the first two films where Kevin is ever seen to have a teddy bear nor any other toy which he takes everywhere with him.
- In the first two films, Kevin's bedroom is never shown. However, in this film, it shows Kevin's bedroom multiple times. Either John Hughes decided not to show his bedroom or he was never given one.
It's possible that Kevin and his family could have later faced lots of changes throughout their lives.
- Daniel Stern, who played Marv in the first two films, was approached to reprise his role in this one. Stern quickly declined, calling it "an insult, total garbage." On the other hand, Joe Pesci wasn't offered to reprise his role as Harry. Instead, Harry's name was only mentioned.
- Although Home Alone 4 takes place in Chicago, Illinois, it was actually filmed in South Africa.
- Originally, this film was going to be a sequel to Home Alone 3 (1997), but the idea was scrapped and rewritten as another film in the series that revolves around Kevin McCallister once more, even though he is played by a different actor. As such the film has several simalaries to Home Alone 3:
- This includes having a spy theme, with Kevin spying on Marv and Vera through a telescope in the same way Alex spyies on the terrorists.
- Like Alex in the third film, Kevin unsuccesfully attempts several times to get Marv and Vera caught in the act, only to result in Marv and Vera escaping the scene and Kevin getting in trouble with his Dad and Natalie, who refuse to believe his story.
- With no one believing them, both Alex and Kevin unsuccesfully attemt to retrive proof of the crooks precence. When their attempts fail they become prompted to booby trap the house and deal with the crooks themselves.
- Both Alex and Kevin use a dumbwaiter to get to the upper and lower floors of the houses.
- Towards the end of both films, both Kevin and Alex happily re-unite with their parents, with both parents apologising to them for not believing them earlier about the crooks.
- The producers had hoped that this movie would lead to a Home Alone TV series, and several of the main cast members had clauses in their contracts that would have bought them back for such a series. This movie failed to perform up to expectations in the ratings, though, and the series never went ahead.
- This is the only film in the series where Marv calls Kevin by name and vice-versa.
- In Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Kevin was one of five siblings; he had two sisters and two brothers: Buzz, Jeff, Megan, and Linnie.
- Rod Daniel's final directorial film before he passed away on April 16, 2016.
- In the original ending, Kevin's parents did not get back together. His father stayed with Natalie, and his mother started dating a police officer who turned out to be Marv's younger, more honest brother. This was changed when the producers decided they wanted the film to set up a TV series, and so Kevin's parents did get back together at the end, while the police officer was deleted altogether from the script.
- Home Alone 4 is the only film in the series to feature a twist revealing a villain.
- Foreshadows to The twist when Molly was the villain:
- After Marv hung up the phone he said "Sometimes SHE scares me."
- After Molly and Kevin left, Prescott looked a bit strange at Molly's choice of words.
- The fact Molly was the kindest character to Kevin in the Home Alone films is a dead giveaway.
|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)|