After Planes, Trains and Automobiles, writer/producer
turns once more to the nightmare of travel, this time from a child's perspective. Set to spend Christmas in Paris with parents and assorted relatives, young Kevin (Culkin) wishes everyone would just disappear, a desire granted when he is accidentally left behind by his preoccupied parents (Heard and O'Hara). But the novelty starts to wear off when a couple of burglars (Stern and Pesci, excellent) target the house. Hughes confidently mixes elements of precocious self-awareness with childlike wonderment: the boy truly believes his dream has become manifest, so he gorges on junk food and television until the reality of the situation brings loneliness and fear. Broader in humour, however, with an inconsistency of mood not helped by abrupt editing and Columbus' sometimes self-conscious direction, Home Alone lacks the sustained tension of the earlier film.