Released in 1997, Home Alone 3 is the third instalment of the popular Home Alone movie series.
The story begins with members of a North Korean terrorist organisation smuggling a top-secret, missile-cloaking microchip through airport security. The chip is hidden inside a remote-controlled toy car in an inconspicuous shopping bag. As the bag goes through airport security checks, it’s accidentally picked up by an old woman, Mrs Hess (Marian Seldes), who’s on her way home to suburban Chicago. The terrorists must follow Mrs Hess to Chicago, find out where she lives and get the microchip back.
Back in Chicago, Mrs Hess gives the toy car to her next-door neighbour, 8-year-old Alex Pruitt (Alex D. Linz), as payment for clearing the snow from her front path. Shortly afterwards, Alex develops chickenpox and needs to stay at home. With his mother needing to work and his father away, Alex is left at home alone.
Alex loves to make quirky and fun inventions, and his room is full of great engineering projects that do useful things, like feed his fish or change the television station on his next-door neighbour’s television. As he watches out of his bedroom window, Alex notices suspicious behaviour going on in the neighbourhood while everyone is out at work.
When both of Alex’s attempts to alert the police fail and get him into trouble for wasting police time, Alex decides it’s time to take things into his own hands. He uses all his inventing and engineering powers to come up with a series of elaborate booby traps and contraptions to stop the terrorists from breaking into his home and stealing back the microchip. The terrorists get far more than they bargained for and the hilarious slapstick ordeal leaves them in terrible shape.
Independence; inventions; slapstick comedy; quarantine; bravery; organised crime
Home Alone 3 has many scenes of slapstick comic violence, as well as several scenes where guns are pointed at people. For example:
- Alex plays with a toy gun. He points it at a woman on the TV screen and shoots an arrow at her bottom, laughing.
- An electric cable is rigged up so that when the terrorists touch it, they’re electrocuted. One of them catches on fire.
- A woman falls into some deep mud and flowerpots fall on her head, knocking her unconscious.
- An electric lawnmower falls on a man’s head, shaving the hair from the top of his head.
- A woman hits a man in the groin with a hockey stick.
- The terrorists tie up and bind an old woman to a chair in her attic. She has her mouth gagged with tape to stop her from screaming.
- All the terrorists have guns, which they point at people in a threatening way.
- A terrorist uses a dangerous electric knife to cut through a door. It comes very close to Alex’s head on the other side.
- A terrorist violently punches a family photograph hanging on the wall and smashes it.
- One of the terrorists threatens Alex and says, ‘You are dead kid’.
Home Alone 3 has some sexual references. For example:
- Alex’s older brother has a poster of a woman in a bikini on his wall.
- The parrot is trained to call out, ‘Don’t come in I’m naked!’
- The parrot looks at a woman’s breasts and says, ‘If those are real then I’m an eagle’.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There is some use of substances in Home Alone 3, including a scene in which Mrs Hess smokes a cigarette.
Nudity and sexual activity
Home Alone 3 has some nudity and sexual activity. For example, Alex tapes his brother’s bikini poster up in the shower cubicle. This makes it look like there’s a sexy, naked woman in the shower. When the intruder enters the bathroom, he thinks it’s a woman and leers grotesquely as he prepares to attack her in the shower.
There’s no product placement in Home Alone 3.
There’s some coarse language in Home Alone 3, including ‘monkey butt’, ‘butt inspection gloves’, ‘big, dumb knucklehead’, ‘dumb broad’ and ‘damn’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Home Alone 3 follows the basic formula that made the original Home Alone movie so popular – a funny, slapstick comedy where a kid gets to beat up the baddies and save the day. Although adults might find the plot a bit silly and tired, many children will love the painful shenanigans and crazy booby-trap inventions.
The theme of scary terrorists roaming the neighbourhood and threatening a young boy with guns is likely to scare some children. Therefore, Home Alone 3 is unsuitable for children under 8 years, and we recommend parental guidance for children aged 8-10 years.
These are the main messages from Home Alone 3:
- Sometimes you just have to take things into your own hands and save the day.
- Being creative and clever can be more powerful than being big and strong.
Values in Home Alone 3 that you could reinforce with your children include independence, bravery, creativity and inventiveness.
Home Alone 3 could also give you the chance to talk with your children about issues like the following:
- There’s a lot of violence in this movie. You could discuss whether violence is the best way to solve problems, and whether it would be sensible to do these kinds of violent pranks in real life. In the movie, nobody really gets hurt badly, but is this realistic? For example, what would really happen if an electric lawn mower went over your head?
- In many movies, the villains are often portrayed as foreigners. In this movie, they have accents and belong to a North Korean terrorist organisation. You could talk with your children about the consequences of this kind of representation – does it contribute towards a mistrust of people from other countries?