Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House is a 2002 American made-for-television Christmas family comedy film directed by Rod Daniel, which first aired on ABC on November 3, 2002, as the first episode of the forty-seventh season of The Wonderful World of Disney, followed by a DVD release on September 2, 2003. The fourth installment in the Home Alone franchise, the film stars Mike Weinberg, French Stewart, Missi Pyle, Jason Beghe, Erick Avari, Barbara Babcock, Joanna Going, and Clare Carey. It tells the story of Kevin McCallister who goes to spend his Christmas with his father and his new girlfriend as his old enemy Marv and his wife Vera come up with a plan to kidnap a visiting prince with help from an inside person that Kevin least suspects. This is the first film in the Home Alone franchise to not receive a theatrical release nor have any screenplay contribution from John Hughes.
|Home Alone 4|
by John Hughes
|Directed by||Rod Daniel|
|Music by||Teddy Castellucci|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||89 minutes|
|Production company||Fox Television Studios|
Whereas Home Alone 3 featured a standalone plot and new characters, this film brings back several of the main characters from the first two films, including Kevin McCallister, but with all of the roles played by different actors. The plot revolves around Kevin McCallister trying to defend his future stepmother's house from his old nemesis Marv and his sidekick/wife Vera. It was the last film that Rod Daniel directed before his subsequent retirement (partly due to his diagnosis from Parkinson's disease, complications of which resulted in his death in 2016).
At the McCallisters' house, Peter is about to get divorced from Kate and announces that he is living with his rich new girlfriend Natalie at her mansion. He tells his three children, Buzz, Megan, and Kevin, 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, high-tech gadgets, and his life. The next morning, Natalie and Peter go out for a bit while Kevin stays at the mansion with Natalie's butler Mr. Prescott and maid Molly. While Mr. Prescott makes Kevin a milkshake, he attempts to sneak into the security room but ends up getting caught by Mr. Prescott, who gives Kevin a telling-off. With Natalie and Peter still away, Kevin notices his old nemesis Marv, a former member of the Wet Bandits, and his new sidekick and wife Vera outside the house. Kevin tries to get Mr. Prescott to answer the intercom, but unfortunately, it does not work since Marv has altered the security system. He then spies on them and drives them away by flooding the house, but Peter and Natalie arrive while Kevin is cleaning up and do not believe Kevin's explanation, especially since Mr. Prescott claims to have seen nothing. 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 accomplice. Molly then appears and gets Kevin out of trouble. Peter and Natalie then realize they have given Kevin a hard time and decide to make him feel better, so the three of them decide to decorate the tree.
The next day, Peter and Kevin wake up and realize their tree was re-decorated because of Natalie. Kate, Buzz, and Megan then decide 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 before locking him in. Kevin then spies on Marv and Vera in his bedroom and hears them planning to kidnap the prince. Unfortunately for them, Kevin makes sure that their plan is a failure and has them fall out and break the window. The royal family is unable to attend the party because their flight was canceled, so Peter and Natalie instead announce their engagement to the party guests instead. Marv and Vera run back into the house and Kevin hits Marv with a frying pan, flips the table, and gets soup spilled on Marv and Vera. They then chase Kevin, causing him to accidentally ruin the party. Peter is angered at this event, still refusing to believe Kevin about the break-in, and instead believes that Kevin is trying to sabotage his relationship with Natalie.
Since nobody believes him about the heist, Kevin decides to take matters into his own hands and sets booby traps for Marv and Vera. The next morning, Peter and Natalie go to pick up the royals and Kevin is left alone in the house. Before Marv and Vera wake up and head to the house, Kevin tricks and locks Mr. Prescott in the basement, but eventually discovers Marv and Vera's real accomplice is actually Molly, who also turns out to be Marv's mother. Kevin gets locked in the basement with Mr. Prescott. After apologizing to Mr. Prescott for misjudging him (and vice versa), Kevin manages to escape through the dumbwaiter. He then traps Marv under the dumbwaiter and unleashes his traps on Marv and Vera. Molly attempts to stop Kevin, but he manages to trap her in the elevator and runs to his bedroom. At the airport, Peter gets worried about Kevin and goes back to Natalie's house to check on him. Back in the basement, Mr. Prescott then manages to escape through the dumbwaiter and goes to see if Kevin is alright. Just on the road, Kate, Buzz, and Megan are on their way to save Kevin as well. 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 is insulting Vera, which causes her to start fighting with him. Marv then gets hit by Kevin's electric aircraft making him fall and tumble down the stairs. Marv and Vera are then tricked by Kevin with a secret wall switch, end up swinging from a chandelier, and fall, knocking them unconscious. Molly, having escaped from the elevator, grabs Kevin, but Mr. Prescott knocks her out with a serving tray. Then he and Kevin call the police.
As Peter, Kate, Buzz, and Megan arrive, Kevin, with Buzz and Megan's help, chases Marv and Vera out of the house and trips them up. The royal family and Natalie arrive, and Natalie is confused when she sees Molly getting arrested. An FBI agent reveals that Molly, Marv, and Vera were the masterminds behind the whole plot to kidnap the prince. Everyone has a good Christmas as Peter breaks up with Natalie, Mr. Prescott resigns, the royals spend Christmas with the McCallisters, and it is a good Christmas for everyone except Natalie, Marv, Vera, and Molly.
- Mike Weinberg as Kevin McCallister, a nine-year-old boy who defends the house from Marv and Vera. He was portrayed by Macaulay Culkin in the first two films.
- French Stewart as Marv Murchins, Vera's husband and an old nemesis of Kevin. He was portrayed by Daniel Stern in the first two films. His appearance and attire in Home Alone 4 more closely resemble that of his former partner Harry Lyme (Joe Pesci) in the first two films.
- Missi Pyle as Vera Murchins, Marv's wife and Molly's daughter-in-law whom he first met in prison. Her role replaces that of Marv's original partner Harry.
- Erick Avari as Mr. Prescott, the butler.
- Barbara Babcock as Molly Murchins, the maid and Marv's mother and Vera's mother-in-law where she serves as their inside person.
- Jason Beghe as Peter McCallister, Kevin, Buzz, and Megan's father. He was portrayed by John Heard in the first two films.
- Clare Carey as Kate McCallister, Kevin, Buzz, and Megan's mother. She was portrayed by Catherine O'Hara in the first two films.
- Joanna Going as Natalie Kalban, Peter's girlfriend.
- Gideon Jacobs as Buzz McCallister, Kevin's older brother. He was portrayed by Devin Ratray in the first two films.
- Chelsea Russo as Megan McCallister, Kevin's older sister. She was portrayed by Hillary Wolf in the first two films.
- Lisa King as Queen
- Craig Geldenhuys as The Crown Prince
- Andre Roothman as King
Home Alone 4 was filmed in Cape Town, South Africa.
Daniel Stern, who previously portrayed Marv Murchins in the first two Home Alone films was approached to reprise his role, but declined after reading the original script.
The film premiered on television on November 3, 2002, and was released on DVD on September 2, 2003.
In November 2020, Disney began to feature the first three Home Alone films on their streaming service Disney+ in celebration of the first film's 30th anniversary. The fourth and fifth installments were released on HBO Max and were added to Disney+ on December 17, 2021.
Clint Morris at Moviehole gave the film one out of five stars, writing, "From the unappealing cheapish opening titles to the murky production values, it's immediately obvious Home Alone 4 isn't playing in the same park as its beloved predecessor... sad". Joly Herman of Common Sense Media also rated the film one out of five stars and wrote, "recycled gags with none of the original's charm". Jerry Roberts of Armchair Media gave the film one out of four stars. Sue Robinson of Radio Times gave the film one out of five stars, writing that, "you have to wonder why they bothered".
On March 15, 2012, ABC Family announced that Home Alone: The Holiday Heist was in production, which premiered on that network during the 2012 Christmas season. The film stars Christian Martyn as the 10-year-old main character Finn Baxter. The story centers on the family's relocation from California to Maine, where Finn becomes convinced that his new house is haunted. When his parents become stranded across town and Finn is left home alone with his older sister Alexis, he sets traps to catch his new home's ghosts, which instead prove troublesome for a group of thieves (played by Malcolm McDowell, Debi Mazar, and Eddie Steeples). The film also starred Ed Asner, produced by Fox Television Studios, and directed by Peter Hewitt.
- ^ "Home Alone: Taking Back the House". Blu-ray. 2 September 2003. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
- ^ Borrelli, Christopher (27 September 2011). "'Teen Wolf' director's brutally honest commentary (part 3 of 3)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
- ^ a b Jerry Roberts (May 12, 2005). "Home Alone 4: Takin' Back the House (2002)". Armchair Media.
- ^ Stanford, Jill (May 5, 2003). "Cape Town: South Africa's tinseltown". Engineering News. Archived from the original on March 22, 2019. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
- ^ "Whatever Happened to Daniel Stern?". 12 December 2020.
- ^ "The Home Alone Trilogy is Coming to Disney Plus Next Week, Just in Time for Christmas". 9 November 2020.
- ^ Clint Morris (October 26, 2003). "Home Alone 4". Moviehole. Archived from the original on January 19, 2004. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
- ^ Joly Herman (December 21, 2010). "Recycled gags with none of the original's charm". Common Sense Media.
- ^ "Home Alone 4 (2002)". Archived from the original on 2019-12-22. Retrieved 2019-12-22.
- ^ "New Home Alone Movie Coming to ABC Family". ABC Family. March 15, 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-03-20.
- Home Alone 4 at IMDb