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Leave ‘Home’ Alone And Watch TV For Laughs

Whatever you may think “Home Alone 3” is like, the reality is worse. As Macaulay Culkin so succinctly put it in the original film:

Aieeeee!!! Or words to that effect.

In fact, the only person who is likely to come out of the latest installment ahead is Culkin, who does not appear in it. Now 17, the lad is apparently old enough to be left home alone.

Stepping into the abandoned-moppet position is Alex D. Linz, a youngster who displays all the charm, natural comic timing and acting ability that Culkin displayed in “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.”

None, in other words.

Speaking of Linz, let me quickly dispel the rumor that the character he plays in No. 3 is a clone of Culkin’s character and that the new film was originally titled “Home Alone Resurrection.” Linz plays a completely different kid, an 8-year-old known as Alex Pruitt.

The plot pits little Alex against a quartet of international thieves working for a North Korean terrorist organization. What the crooks want from the kid is a secret computer chip that has been hidden in his toy car.

When Alex gets the chicken pox and is left alone in his family’s suburban-Chicago home, the bad guys come calling - much to their eventual dismay.

“Home Alone 3” was written and co-produced by John Hughes, who performed roughly those same functions for the first two installments.

The director is Raja Gosnell, whose film editing was conspicuously awkward in those movies.

How to suggest the level of humor here?

No. 3 makes No. 2 look as fresh as No. 1. And the new film makes the original “Home Alone” seem like a Buster Keaton classic.

You want specifics?

Well, there’s one gag involving Alex’s father, who is about to leave the house when the boy reminds him … TO PUT ON SOME PANTS! Another scene involves Crook A taking drastic action when she spots a mouse climbing around the crotch of Crook B.

“You smacked my hoinky,” whines Crook B.

Had enough?

Suffice it to say that there is a lot of poorly executed slapstick in this movie, some of which, like that mouse-crotch sequence, is in questionable taste. There is also at least one Herbert Hoover joke - always a big hit with the youngsters.

Children deserve a lot better than “Home Alone 3.” And as luck would have it, American Movie Classics is featuring a bunch of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin movies this month.

Sit yourself down with your kids and a big bowl of popcorn and watch those. Leave this latest “Home Alone” alone.

MEMO: These 2 sidebars appeared with the story:

1. “Home Alone 3” Location: Lyons, Spokane Valley Mall, Post Falls Cinema, Showboat Credits: Director by Raja Gosnell, starring Alex D. Linz, Haviland Morris, Olek Krupa, Rya Kihlstedt, David Thornton, Lenny Von Dohlen, Kevin Kilner, Marian Seldes Running time: 1:43 Rating: PG

2. OTHER VIEWS Here’s what other critics say about “Home Alone 3:” Michael Rechtshaffen/The Hollywood Reporter: While “Home Alone 3” is a virtual Xerox of the oft-imitated “Home Alone” blueprint, young Alex D. Linz makes for a highly charming lead and, as a whole, the John Hughes-penned script isn’t as mean-spirited as the previous installment. And, despite the relative sameness of it all, Hughes still manages to throw in a funny wrinkle here and there, keeping the high jinks humming. Robert Philpot/Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Ah, remember the good ol’ days, when cartoons were cartoons and John Hughes was a lightweight but relatively respectable filmmaker? That was in the mid-‘80s, when Hughes at least made an effort at substance with teen-oriented movies like “The Breakfast Club” and “Pretty in Pink.” Then came the ‘90s, and with the live-action cartoon “Home Alone,” Hughes found his gold mine. Or rather, he found his well, because he keeps going back to it again and again, not only in the new “Home Alone 3,” but in the recent “Baby’s Day Out, 101 Dalmatians” and “Flubber,” all of which Hughes scripted. … You can’t really say much new about Hughes, because he has nothing new to say. You can’t really say much new about “Home Alone 3,” either. Bob Thomas/Associated Press: The trouble with sequels is that they lack surprise. You know that Sigourney Weaver is going to get slimed and that Pierce Brosnan will bluff his way out of a nasty fix. John Hughes, creator of the “Home Alone” franchise and writer and co-producer of “Home Alone 3,” figures he didn’t need any surprises: Just take the blueprint for the first of the series and slip it in the copying machine.

These 2 sidebars appeared with the story:

1. “Home Alone 3” Location: Lyons, Spokane Valley Mall, Post Falls Cinema, Showboat Credits: Director by Raja Gosnell, starring Alex D. Linz, Haviland Morris, Olek Krupa, Rya Kihlstedt, David Thornton, Lenny Von Dohlen, Kevin Kilner, Marian Seldes Running time: 1:43 Rating: PG

2. OTHER VIEWS Here’s what other critics say about “Home Alone 3:” Michael Rechtshaffen/The Hollywood Reporter: While “Home Alone 3” is a virtual Xerox of the oft-imitated “Home Alone” blueprint, young Alex D. Linz makes for a highly charming lead and, as a whole, the John Hughes-penned script isn’t as mean-spirited as the previous installment. And, despite the relative sameness of it all, Hughes still manages to throw in a funny wrinkle here and there, keeping the high jinks humming. Robert Philpot/Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Ah, remember the good ol’ days, when cartoons were cartoons and John Hughes was a lightweight but relatively respectable filmmaker? That was in the mid-‘80s, when Hughes at least made an effort at substance with teen-oriented movies like “The Breakfast Club” and “Pretty in Pink.” Then came the ‘90s, and with the live-action cartoon “Home Alone,” Hughes found his gold mine. Or rather, he found his well, because he keeps going back to it again and again, not only in the new “Home Alone 3,” but in the recent “Baby’s Day Out, 101 Dalmatians” and “Flubber,” all of which Hughes scripted. … You can’t really say much new about Hughes, because he has nothing new to say. You can’t really say much new about “Home Alone 3,” either. Bob Thomas/Associated Press: The trouble with sequels is that they lack surprise. You know that Sigourney Weaver is going to get slimed and that Pierce Brosnan will bluff his way out of a nasty fix. John Hughes, creator of the “Home Alone” franchise and writer and co-producer of “Home Alone 3,” figures he didn’t need any surprises: Just take the blueprint for the first of the series and slip it in the copying machine.