'Home Alone' has big laughs after slow start


"Home Alone" is initially irritating, but once the movie gets under way it atones for the opening portion with continuous laughs.

Do you like the Three Stooges? Do you like the Tom and Jerry cartoons? If you do, you'll certainly enjoy the new film, once those initial scenes are spent.

John Hughes wrote and produced. He's the man who wrote "Pretty in Pink" and "The Breakfast Club." A few years ago, he got away from the "Brat Pack" films and began doing things like "Planes, Trains and Automobiles."

There's a little of "Planes" in the new movie, but the travel scenes are the lesser part of it. It's when the two burglars try to make a kill that "Home Alone" delights.

Kevin is the 8-year-old who is left at home when his family flies to Paris. At first, it is a dream come true. In time, however, the novelty wears, and Kevin begins to wish his family were there with him.

Prowling outside are two burglars who have had their eyes on the house. Certain that no one is home, they plan their attack. Kevin, however, is a resourceful little boy. He is also very brave, and when the two intruders try to invade his domicile, he fights back.

This is when the film takes off, and this is when the laughs are frequent and big, big enough to encourage us to overlook the travel portions of the film, which, toward the end, do become more amusing, thanks to John Candy, a Hughes favorite who offers the mother a ride to Chicago when she is stranded in Scranton, Pa.

She could, of course, rent a car and get there much sooner, but we're not supposed to take any of this too seriously.

There is a subplot involving a neighbor, a strange, solitary man. The kids tell stories about him, but they aren't true. We know what part he will play in the last portion of the film, but what we don't expect to see is the boy advise the man to forget his pride and make peace with himself.

It's a very touching sequence, a nice balance to the horseplay that is precipitated by the burglars when they try to invade the home.

"Home Alone" stars Macaulay Culkin (the kid in "Uncle Buck") as the boy, Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci as the burglars, and John Heard and Catherine O'Hara are the parents who leave their kid at home, then desperately try to return there.

"Home Alone"

** Vacationing parents leave their 8-year-old boy at home, alone.

CAST: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Herd, Catherine O'Hara, John Candy.

DIRECTOR: Chris Columbus

RATING: PG (violence, language)

RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes

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