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Remember when “Home Alone” was the biggest box office success of the early ‘90s?

It’s easy to forget, what with its nigh-ubiquity on the airwaves during the holiday season, but when the Chris Columbus-helmed, Macauley Culkin-led film hit screens back in mid-November of 1990, it was a massive hit. Like, nearly half-a-billion worldwide box office massive. It spawned a couple of sequels, etc. You know the drill.

So it only makes sense that, in this era of reboots and remakes, prequels and sequels, that we’d be revisiting that particular piece of intellectual property.

And so we get “Home Sweet Home Alone,” streaming exclusively on Disney+. Technically, the film – directed by Dan Mazer – is a sequel, with a couple of very deliberate nods to the original, but in terms of the way it feels, it’s more of a remake, with a slightly different set of circumstances overlaid atop the same story beats with which we are all familiar.

It doesn’t really work.

Now, it isn’t terrible – the sheer talent of the cast ensures a fairly high floor – but the film itself can’t really push beyond that baseline level of performance competency. The elements of the experience that aren’t utterly rehashed feel bloated and padded, a series of plot points intended to get us to the slapstick lunacy that also seem to meander toward their destination with little to no urgency. The end result is a movie that labors toward a payoff that ultimately isn’t really worth the time spend to get there.

Published in Movies

Abbott and Costello. Laurel and Hardy. Martin and Lewis. Lemmon and Matthau. Farley and Spade. Ferrell and Reilly. The history of cinema is rife with comic duos, esteemed teams that have done great things to advance the art of the laugh. Some were dedicated double acts, others came together through circumstance, but all brought us joy.

So it is with Tom & Jerry. The animated cat-and-mouse pairing has been delighting audiences since their debut in 1940 with their trademark slapstick mayhem. But now, they’re taking a trip into the third dimension.

“Tom & Jerry” is a live-action/animated hybrid film directed by Tim Story from a screenplay by Kevin Costello. It brings the iconic duo into the real world, folding together the outsized violence of the original shorts with an ostensibly real setting.

Now, you might wonder if characters whose body of work consists almost entirely of shorts can translate to a full-length feature. The answer is … sort of? While the Tom and Jerry dynamic remains intact and still largely works, the truth is that the kinetic explosiveness of their interactions simply can’t be sustained for 101 minutes. And while everyone in the human cast is doing their best, it doesn’t always click.

All that being said, kids are almost certainly going to dig this film, even if they might want a little more cat-and-mouse. And parents – particularly parents with fond memories of these characters – may well find things to like as well. Not a spectacular success, sure, but far from terrible.

Published in Movies

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