A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Home Alone 5: The Holiday Heist delivers the franchise's expected punch of slapstick violence aimed at a team of inept burglars who break into a boy's home while he and his sister are unsupervised. As in the first four movies bearing this title, the showdown between the grown-ups and the crafty kids is as funny as it is unrealistic, but it's important to remind your own kids that this doesn't represent how a real-life scenario would play out. Despite the premise, you'll find the story rich in themes that celebrate family bonds and even raise relevant issues like monitoring screen time and staying safe online.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Finn Baxter (Christian Martyn) is less than thrilled about his family's move from California to Maine, and he doesn't feel any better after laying eyes on their new home, which he fears might be haunted. Despite his parents' assurances that nothing's awry, Finn assumes the worst when he finds a secret room in the basement and discovers that his self-designed ghost trap has been tripped. So when his parents leave him and his older sister, Alexis (Jodelle Ferland), home alone while they attend a Christmas party -- and a band of thieves breaks in to steal a treasure hidden inside -- Finn rigs the house to deter them.
Is it any good?
HOME ALONE 5: THE HOLIDAY HEIST is a fairly formulaic reworking of the plots of the previous four Home Alone movies. Boy's parents leave him at home by himself, bad guys break in, boy nearly destroys the house in an attempt to foil their plans. A few things change here, like the presence of Finn's sister and the outside help he gets from a man he met through online gaming, but it's not hard to figure where the story is going or how it will work out in the end. Of course, if kids haven't seen any of its predecessors, then they'll take particular delight in Finn's underdog story.
If you tune in with your kids, you'll be surprisingly entertained throughout, thanks to an excellent cast (including a small role for Edward Asner) and the antics of the inept crooks. You'll also notice aspects of the story that might escape your kids' attention but that offer great conversation starters about issues like balancing screen time with family time, protecting your privacy online, and, of course, staying true to the spirit of the holiday.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the media. How much time do you spend looking at screens in a day? A week? How much of your information do you get that way? In what way are computers or cell phones superior to traditional means of news? What, if any, are their drawbacks?
Kids: Is Finn responsible with his gaming habit? Why are his parents concerned about this hobby? Have you ever found that an interest of yours keeps you from being involved in other activities? Why is it important to strike a balance among all of your activities?
Do the characters always make smart decisions? What might Finn have done differently when he realized he was in real danger? Do you think his parents would have believed him if he'd told them what was going on? What are some of your family's plans for emergencies like fire, storms, or a home invasion?
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