Home Alone 3 is a 1997 American family comedy film written and produced by John Hughes. The film is directed by Raja Gosnell (in his directorial debut), who served as the editor of both original films and stars Alex D. Linz as Alex Pruitt, a resourceful boy who is left home alone and has to defend his home from a band of criminals. The film was followed by a made-for-television sequel, Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House which was released in 2002, and received even worse reception than 3 received.
Peter Beaupre, Alice Ribbons, Burton Jernigan, and Earl Unger, four internationally wanted criminals working for a North Korean terrorist group, have stolen a $10 million missile cloaking computer chip. The thieves put it inside a toy remote controlled car to sneak it past security at San Francisco International Airport. However, a luggage mix-up occurs, causing a woman named Mrs. Hess to inadvertently take the thieves' bag containing the remote controlled car while returning home to Chicago. The four thieves arrive in Chicago and systematically search every house in Hess's suburban neighborhood to find the chip.
Meanwhile, Alex Pruitt is given the remote control car by Hess for shovelling snow, but she scolds him for scratching numerous itches. He returns home and removes his shirt to discover that he has chickenpox, and therefore must stay out of school. While at home, Alex uses his telescope and discovers the thieves on look out for the chip. The police arrive to find the thieves, but are unable to locate them. Alex later attempts to catch the thieves on camera, but Beaupre steals the tape. Wondering what the thieves want with a remote control car, Alex opens it and discovers the stolen chip. He informs the local Air Force Recruitment Center about the chip while asking if they can forward the information about the chip to someone.
The thieves conclude that Alex has been watching them and decide to pursue him. As a snowstorm hits Chicago, the thieves block off the road to the house, and Alice duct tapes Hess to a chair in her garage and leaves the door open. By this point, Alex has armed his house with booby traps and prepares to set them off with his pet rat, Doris, and the loud-mouthed pet parrot of his brother, Stan. After several break-in attempts, the thieves manage to make it into the house, despite falling into Alex's traps. They begin to search the house to find Alex. Alex runs to the attic and goes into the dumbwaiter down to the basement, and runs outside and calls to Alice, Jernigan and Unger. The thieves see Alex and notice a trampoline below them. Jernigan and Unger jump to pursue Alex, but the trampoline gives way and they fall into a frozen pool. Alice wriggles her way into the dumbwaiter chute, but falls down to the basement because Alex removed the bottom.
Alex rescues Hess and is cornered by Beaupre, but manages to scare him off with a fake gun. Meanwhile, the Federal Bureau of Investigation goes to Alex's siblings' school after being tipped off by the recruitment center. Alex's family brings the agents to their house, where the police arrest Alice, Jernigan, and Unger. However, Beaupre flees to the snow fort in the backyard. The parrot drives the remote control car into the snow fort and threatens to light fireworks, which are lined around the inside. Beaupre offers a cracker, but the parrot demands two. Since he only has one, the parrot then lights the fireworks, and flees. Beaupre is arrested.
In the epilogue, Alex and his family celebrate with his father returning home as it is being repaired. Hess, who befriends Alex after he successfully rescues her, is there along with the FBI and the police while Alex's house is being repaired. In the final scene of the film while the thieves are having their mugshot photos taken, they seem to have caught Alex's chickenpox.
Why It Sucks
- All the original actors from the first two films are never featured. Even the location of its setting isn't the same.
- Poor acting.
- Alex's family is used to leaving him in the house alone.
- Some of the traps are funny but some are either really complicated, easy to spot, or even fatal (eg. Jernigan gets his hair sliced by a lawn mower, with painful screaming, Jernigan and Mr. Unger get electrocuted)
- Despite being a sequel, it seemed more like a remake than a sequel.
- No connection to the first two movies. The first 5 minutes (and over) of the film do not even give the impression of a family film.
- The thieving spies could've easily avoided the traps or perhaps even catch Alex preparing the traps.
- There was only one scene that can actually be considered funny. A perfect example is when Alice hits Jernigan in the crotch trying to get the rat that appeared in a hole in his pants.
- Alex is left at home sick with the chickenpox. Who'll take care of someone who's sick with the chickenpox home alone? That's a big time sin.
- The film ignores the events of the first two films.
- Despite this being an entirely different story, the film is set in Chicago like the first film.
- The remote controlled car used in the movie is totally awesome for a film prop.
- The parrot and the mouse make a great team.
- The chickenpox mugshot scene was pretty amusing.
- The opening theme from the first two films is used at the beginning of the film, which made the film in some ways decent, even though most of the film was nonsensical and not as funny as the preceding films.
- The traps were pretty clever.
- Alex is a smart and amusing boy, although he’s not as amusing or cunning as Kevin McCallister.
- The final confrontation was decent, despite not being as comical as the ones in the first two films.
- Scarlett Johansson looks cute as a teen.
- Alex gets an extra remote controlled car as a gift.
Home Alone 3 received generally negative reviews upon release. It holds a 27% "rotten" rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 22 reviews and was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Remake or Sequel, where it lost to Speed 2: Cruise Control.
In the Nostalgia Critic review of it, he gave a highly negative option, as it has no connections to the first movies
But Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times, gave the film a positive review (3 out of 4 stars) and says he found it to be "fresh, very funny, and better than the first two".
Joel Siegel of Good Morning America also gave the film a positive review when he commented on the film “Big laughs. A real kid-pleaser!”
For awhile, this film was seen as the worst film in the franchise until Home Alone 4 came out in 2002, which received even worse reception than this film, often saying that it makes 3 look like a masterpiece by comparison.
Awards and nominations
Home Alone 3 was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Remake or Sequel, but lost to Speed 2: Cruise Control.