Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House

Movie review by
Joly Herman, Common Sense Media
Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House Movie Poster Image
Recycled gags with none of the original's charm.
  • NR
  • 2003
  • 83 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 40 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Though the moral of this story ends up pointing to the joys of homey family life, the excesses of extreme wealth are so prevalent that the humble life seems absolutely bland by comparison.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kevin's mom and dad try to explain why parents get divorced, but Kevin seems to know more about the psychology than they do. Kevin fights back against the bad guys in self defense.


Slapstick violence and perilous scenes: a mansion gets flooded and trashed, the bad guys fall through a window, feet get stomped on, boiling buckets of fondue drop on heads. Kevin's brother bullies him, while their mom does nothing about it.


Kevin's dad and his girlfriend share long, sensual kisses.


Bullying language between siblings: "lame brain," "cheese face," "wedgie," etc. Bad guys tell Kevin to shut up and call him a moron.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink wine and champagne at dinner and parties. Kevin's dad's girlfriend "goes out" every night.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the young child in this slapstick comedy has to face adult burglars by himself because nobody believes that he's telling the truth. The kid's attempts at fighting back include lots of slapstick violence and comedic peril (falls, injuries, hot fondue incidents) ... just like in the rest of the Home Alone movies. There are also clumsy attempts at coping with the issues of divorce and adult relationships.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLebron12James3 December 12, 2020


Parent of a 5, 6, 7, 10, 10, and 17-year-old Written byCharlie The Cat December 18, 2011
Kid, 12 years old January 2, 2021

Good film—even though people rate it one out of five stars

There might be some inaccuracies from the 1990 and 1992 films but this is alright.
Teen, 14 years old Written byDogcat April 28, 2020

What's the story?

Kevin (Mike Weinberg) is caught in the middle of his parents' divorce ... and it's Christmas. He goes to his dad's (Jason Beghe) girlfriend's (Clare Carey) house and helps foil a plot by bad guy Marv (French Stewart) and his girlfriend (Missi Pyle) to kidnap a member of the visiting royal family.

Is it any good?

The jokes fall flat, and the smart observations sound like they're being read off a cue card. In the HOME ALONE franchise, so much hangs on the little hero, Kevin. Macaulay Culkin's comedic timing and precocious remarks made for great entertainment, but Weinberg just doesn't have the chops to carry this movie's weak script.

The supporting cast isn't as lame: The bad guys are pretty amusing, though they get beaten to a pulp. But serious subjects like divorce and parenting get thrown around too lightly -- and lamely -- to make this good kids' entertainment.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the high-priced toys and gadgets seen in this movie. What's your reaction to seeing so many fancy gifts and toys? Does it make you want them or feel dissatisfied with what you have? Here are some ways to talk about material excess in movies like this one.

  • How is the topic of divorce handled in this movie? Does it seem realistic? Do you have any personal experience with divorce? How is your experience different from what happened in this movie? What are some ways adults can reassure kids affected by divorce?

  • How does slapstick violence affect kids? Does the comedy make it less realistic? Check out this article for more information.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love to laugh

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