Just another whining Kevin

Kevin Cowherd

November 20, 1992|By Kevin Cowherd

It is with no small degree of alarm that I note the release of "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York," which once again showcases the wondrous screaming talents of Macaulay Culkin.

Although it hardly seems possible, this film is even more annoying than the original "Home Alone."

This time, little Kevin McCallister becomes separated from his parents at the airport.

Unfortunately, instead of being whisked into the back of a van by crazed Hare Krishna adherents, or bound and gagged in the cargo hold of a 747 headed for Bangladesh, he ends up on a flight to New York.

What's truly amazing is that not one of the flight attendants takes a poke at the little dear, silent testimony indeed to the patience of these airline professionals.

The main question I had while watching this movie is: doesn't anybody ever keep an eye on this kid?

After all, this is the second time in less than two years that the boy -- who's supposed to be only 10, by the way -- has been misplaced.

In the real world, this would prompt a flurry of calls from well-meaning relatives and friends to the juvenile authorities, after which Kevin's parents would be hauled in for questioning about possible child neglect.

But none of that happens in these movies, where the boy's disappearance is treated as cavalierly (it seems to me) as if the family had left behind the blow dryer.

Of course, if I'm little Kevin's parents, I'm about ready to handcuff this kid to a radiator. Or I'm measuring him for one of those electronic monitoring devices they slip around the ankle of home-bound convicts.

On second thought, the kid is so irritating that I'd probably fish a few bucks out of my pocket and say: "Here, go see what Greyhound has going to South Dakota."

Anyway, once Kevin gets to New York, the, ahem, fun really begins.

Somehow, in a city of over 7 million people, he ends up meeting those two dumb Chicago burglars from the original "Home Alone."

The burglars, Harry and Marv, are played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, who again bring to their roles all the restraint of a safe dropping 15 stories.

Like anyone who has ever met Kevin, they'd like nothing better than to get in a whack or two at the little pain-in-the-neck.

But once again Kevin cleverly eludes them and somehow dishes out the kind of punishment that would bring a smile to The Terminator's face.

In one scene, he swings a length of heavy steel pipe on a makeshift trapeze that smacks the crooks flush in the face.

It's a blow that would leave any other victims spitting out teeth, having their jaws wired and depending on IV feedings every four hours -- that is, if they didn't both plunge into a deep coma and die.

But Harry and Marv shake it off like they got hit by a pillow. I kept waiting for the kid to drop a piano on them from the roof of an apartment building, after which maybe they'd at least be wearing a Band-Aid.

Hoo, boy. Well, if you don't have any trouble swallowing that, you probably won't have a problem with the scene where little Kevin is allowed to check into the Plaza Hotel all by himself.

Yeah, I can't get a check cashed at Safeway without 27 forms of ID, but a 10-year-old waltzes into a luxury hotel and gets a suite with no money at all.

This being Hollywood we're dealing with, there are lots of other shaky details in the movie, of course.

This is supposed to be Christmas in New York, but you don't see any muggers or crack dealers or Iranian cabbies cursing their customers and shooting their middle fingers at cars that cut them off.

You don't see any street corner Santas being held up by snarling gunmen, or any "wolf packs" of wild-eyed teen-agers terrorizing shoppers with hatpins and switchblades.

L Hell, it might as well be Christmas in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

Anyway, as dumb as "Home Alone 2" is, every little kid in America is going to want to see it, including my three, who tend to regard Macaulay Culkin as a smaller version of DeNiro.

What's especially disturbing to me is this: The original "Home Alone" was the third top-grossing film of all time. And that's a movie that makes "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" look like "The Godfather."

If that isn't the surest indication that this country is in trouble, I don't know what is.

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