This movie is set one year after the events of Home Alone, as the McCallisters get ready for another Christmas family holiday. This time they’re bound for Florida.
Just like the year before, everyone oversleeps on the morning of departure, and the family descends into chaos as they all try not to miss the plane. Of course, 10-year-old Kevin gets lost at the airport and ends up boarding the wrong plane – for New York. Resourceful and street-smart Kevin decides to make the best of it. Equipped with his father’s wallet and credit card, he books himself into a luxurious suite in a fancy Manhattan hotel.
Things get complicated when a concierge notices that the credit card is registered as stolen. Terrified of being arrested for credit card fraud, Kevin runs away to the house of an uncle who lives in New York. Unfortunately, the uncle’s house is vacant and being renovated.
On top of all that, the two criminals who tried to burgle Kevin’s house the year before, Harry and Marv (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern), have escaped prison and are also in New York. They’re planning to rob a toy store, but Kevin decides to foil their plan and get them arrested once more.
Slapstick humour; resourcefulness; importance of friendship and family
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York has frequent and highly trivialised slapstick violence. For example:
- During a Christmas concert, Kevin’s older brother plays a mean prank on Kevin. When Kevin realises, he punches his brother in the face. This causes a chain reaction, in which other people fall over and get hurt.
- In his hotel room, Kevin watches a gangster movie in which a man brutally shoots a woman with a machine gun.
- When Kevin first encounters Harry and Marv, they try to snatch him. Kevin sets a trap of sugar beads, which Harry and Marv slip on.
- Kevin sets a trap outside the shop Harry and Marv have broken into. Harry is catapulted high up in the air and smashes into a car, totally destroying it.
- Harry and Marv repeatedly say that they want to kill, shoot or murder Kevin.
- When Harry and Marv eventually get hold of Kevin, Harry plans to shoot him. But they’re interrupted by Kevin’s friend, the Pigeon Lady. Harry wants to shoot her but can’t operate his gun, which is covered in slippery varnish.
- The Pigeon Lady throws a bucket of bird food on Harry and Marv, and they get attacked by a flock of pigeons.
A lot of the slapstick violence happens when Kevin lures Harry and Marv into his uncle’s house, where Kevin has prepared an arsenal of traps. For example:
- Kevin throws bricks from the roof of the townhouse and hits Marv in the head four times.
- Marv has industrial staples shot into his backside, genitals and face.
- Harry slips off a ladder that Kevin has covered in grease. He falls down several metres and lands on his back.
- Marv falls down an entire floor, landing flat on his front, making his vertebrae crack. He passes out.
- Harry gets hit and buried under an entire bag of heavy metal tools.
- Marv gets buried under a shelf filled with paint buckets.
- Marv is electrocuted.
- Harry’s beanie is set on fire. Instead of taking it off, Harry decides to put it out in a toilet. Kevin has replaced the toilet water with a flammable liquid. This leads to an explosion, leaving Harry with burnt-off hair.
- Marv gets hit by a sack of cement that falls from the next level up.
- Harry falls off a ladder that Kevin has tampered with.
- Kevin releases a massive metal bar that swings into Harry and Marv.
- Kevin rams Harry and Marv into a wall using a man-sized metal tool chest.
- Harry and Marv try to abseil from the top of the townhouse, but Kevin sets the rope on fire. They crash to the ground and are buried under buckets of varnish.
It’s important to note that Harry and Marv get away with minor cuts, burns and bruises. They’re not seriously injured as they would be if these things happened to them in real life. Also, Kevin celebrates triumphantly every time his traps work. These violent scenes are scripted to be funny, but this trivialises and legitimises the use of violence.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York has some sexual references. For example, two women talk to Kevin. They ask him whether he’s looking for someone to read him a bedside story and then laugh at him. It’s clear that the women are prostitutes.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York shows some use of substances in this movie. For example, the prostitutes are smoking cigarettes.
Nudity and sexual activity
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York has some references to nudity. For example, Kevin tells his parents that his uncle warned him that if he ever saw him naked, he’d never feel like a real man.
There is some mild coarse language, name-calling and insults in this movie, including ‘you little pervert’, ‘jerk’, ‘idiots’, ‘you big horse’s ass’, ‘you big sissy’ and ‘shut up’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Like its predecessor Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York has some positive messages. But these messages are overshadowed by the slapstick violence in this sequel.
In this movie, Kevin isn’t defending his own home. Rather, he maliciously lures Harry and Marv into a house filled with traps. The traps are not harmless little pranks either. In real life, they could easily kill people. This trivialisation and legitimisation of violence means this movie is unsuitable for a young audience. If your older children watch this movie, it’s a good idea to talk with them about how Kevin could have handled the situation differently.
The main messages from this movie are that the end justifies the means and that family and friends are important.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include friendship, family, charity and trust in others.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like:
- trivialising violence
- using good intentions as a justification for doing the wrong thing. For example, Kevin means well by trying to stop Harry and Marv from stealing charity money from the toy shop. But this doesn’t justify his cruel and malicious pranks and traps.