Home Alone 3

image for Home Alone 3

Short takes

Not suitable under 8; parental guidance to 10 (slapstick violence, coarse language, sexual references)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Home Alone 3
  • a review of Home Alone 3 completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 21 October 2021.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not suitable due to slapstick violence, coarse language, and some sexual references.
Children aged 8–10 Parental guidance recommended due to slapstick violence, coarse language, and some sexual references.
Children over the age of 10 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Home Alone 3
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Low level violence
Length: 101 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Released in 1997, Home Alone 3 is the third instalment of the popular movie series, Home Alone. Four members of a North Korean terrorist organisation are smuggling a top-secret, missile-cloaking microchip through airport security. The chip is hidden inside a remote-controlled toy car in an inconspicuous shopping bag. As it goes through airport security checks, it is accidentally picked up by an old woman, Mrs. Hess (Marian Seldes), who is on her way back to her suburban home in Chicago. The four terrorists must follow her to Chicago, find out where she lives and get the microchip back. Back in Chicago, Mrs. Hess gives the toy car to her next-door neighbour, eight-year-old Alex Pruitt (Alex D. Linz), as payment for clearing the snow from her front path. Shortly afterwards, Alex develops chickenpox and needs to stay at home until the virus passes. With his mother needing to work and his father away, Alex is left all alone at home. Alex loves to make quirky and fun inventions and his room is full of great engineering projects that do useful things, like feed his fish or change the television station on his next-door neighbour’s television set! As he watches in boredom out of his bedroom window, Alex notices suspicious behaviour going on in the neighbourhood whilst everyone is out at work. When both his attempts to alert the police fail and get him into trouble for wasting police time, Alex decides it’s time to take things into his own hands. He uses all his inventing, engineering powers to come up with a series of elaborate booby traps and contraptions to stop the terrorists from breaking into his home and stealing back the microchip. The terrorists get far more than they bargained for and the hilarious slapstick ordeal leaves them in terrible shape!

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Independence; Inventions; Slapstick Comedy; Quarantine; Bravery; Organised Crime.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There are many scenes of slapstick violence for comedic effect in this movie as well as several scenes where guns are pointed at people. These scenes include:

  • Alex plays with a toy gun. He points it at a woman on the TV screen and shoots an arrow at her bottom, laughing.
  • An electric cable is rigged up so that when the men touch it, they are electrocuted. One of them catches on fire.
  • A woman falls into some deep mud and then flowerpots fall on her head, knocking her unconscious.
  • An electric lawnmower falls on a man’s head, shaving the hair from the top of his head.
  • A woman hits a man in the groin with a hockey stick.
  • The terrorists tie up and bound the old woman to a chair in her attic. She has her mouth gagged with tape to stop her from screaming.
  • All the terrorists have guns which they walk around pointing and using threateningly.
  • One of the terrorists uses a dangerous electric knife to cut through a door, it comes very close to Alex’s head on the other side.
  • One of the terrorists violently punches a family photograph hanging on the wall, smashing it.
  • One of the terrorists threatens Alex and says, “You are dead kid”.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The four members of the North Korean terrorist group are quite scary characters. Even though they are comical, they are threatening and cruel and they are trying to hunt down an eight-year-old boy whilst carrying real guns. Some children might find the idea of people like this roaming a neighbourhood and entering houses very frightening.
  • Alex is teased by his older brother and sister. In one scene they tell him that he has brought shame on the family name and that when he really needs the police, they are never going to come.
  • Alex really doesn’t want to be left home alone when his mum needs to go off to work. He is a little upset.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Children in this age group are likely to find the above scenes scary or disturbing.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Younger children in this age bracket may still find some of the above-mentioned scenes scary.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Alex’s older brother has a poster of a woman in a bikini on his wall.
  • The parrot is trained to call out, “Don’t come in I’m naked!”
  • The parrot looks at a woman’s breasts and says, “If those are real then I’m an eagle”.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Alex uses his brother’s bikini poster by taping it up in the shower cubicle, making it look like there is a sexy naked woman in the shower. When the intruder enters the bathroom, he thinks it is a woman and leers grotesquely in delight as he prepares to attack her in the shower.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Mrs. Hess smokes a cigarette.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Monkey Butt
  • Butt-Inspection Gloves
  • Big, dumb Knucklehead
  • Dumb broad
  • Damn.

In a nutshell

Home Alone 3 follows the basic formula which made the original Home Alone film so popular - a funny, slapstick comedy where the kid gets to beat up the baddies and save the day. Whilst adults might find this a bit silly and the plot tired, many children will love the painful shenanigans and crazy booby-trap inventions. However, the theme of scary terrorists roaming the neighbourhood and threatening a young boy with guns is likely to be a bit much for some children, therefore, the film is unsuitable for children under 8 and parental guidance to 10 is recommended.

The main messages from this movie are that sometimes you just have to take things into your own hands and save the day, and that being creative and clever can be more powerful than being bigger and stronger.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Independence.
  • Bravery in the face of danger.
  • Creativity and inventing.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • There is a lot of violence in this film. Parents could discuss whether solving problems using violence is the best method and whether it would be sensible to do these kinds of ‘pranks’ in real life. In the film, nobody really gets hurt badly, but is this realistic? For example, what would really happen if an electric lawn mower went over your head?
  • In many films, the ‘baddies’ or the ‘villains’ are often portrayed as foreigners. In this film they have accents and belong to a North Korean terrorist organisation. Parents could talk to their kids about the consequences of this kind of portrayal in movies – does it contribute towards a mistrust of people from other countries?