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Parents' Guide to

How to Deter a Robber

By Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Low-budget home-invasion comedy has language, violence.

Movie NR 2021 85 minutes
How to Deter a Robber movie poster

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With the first Home Alone movie rightly regarded as a classic, and its various sequels and reboots suggesting there's always an audience for a Christmas crime caper, it's unsurprising that this film got green-lit. But everything about How to Deter a Robber is so derivative that it offers zero surprises or suspense. Debut writer-director Maria Bissell would've benefitted from spending more time on developing the movie's core group of five characters. In particular, the relationship troubles of Marano's defiant Madison and Abbie Cobb's people-pleasing home invader, Christine, who is the most original voice of the piece but barely utilized.

Likewise, Papac gets one scene to show that there's more to goofy boyfriend Jimmy than meets the eye. But it's quickly forgotten before we return to a comedy-thriller plot that's missing both laughs and excitement. Between its booby-trapped house that fails to spark into life and dialogue that rarely offers more than mundane squabbling between family members, How to Deter a Robber is one of those Christmas presents likely to end up in the returns pile.

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