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Film / Home Alone 3

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"What burglar goes into a house and doesn't take anything? You know what I think? They're looking for something special. And they're looking in every house because they don't know who has it. The question is... what is it? If nobody's gonna do anything about this... I'll just have to do it myself."
Alex Pruitt
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Home Alone 3 is a 1997 American Christmas family comedy film. It's the third installment in the Home Alone series. It was written and produced by John Hughes, but Chris Columbus didn't return to direct — that role was given to Raja Gosnell, editor of the first two films (and future director of Big Momma's House, the live-action Scooby-Doo movies, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua).

The film has a completely different cast (i.e. Kevin was replaced by Alex Pruitt, played by Alex D. Linz), but was otherwise still similar to the first movie. In fact, many of the characters are very much like the characters of the previous movies, with one exception: the stupid burglars, wanted by the local police, were replaced with a ring of four intelligent spies wanted by the FBI, making the traps less believable.

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Home Alone 3 contains examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Jernigan and Alice find what turns out to be a distraction involving a toy monkey, Jernigan starts laughing.
  • Affably Evil: Earl Unger.
  • Artistic License – Animal Care: Doris the white rat doesn't have any cage-mates to live with. Fancy rats (and any brown rat for that matter) are extremely social animals that, barring temperament problems, should never be kept as solitary individuals.
  • Barbell Beating: One of Alex's traps is a large weighted barbell that falls from the house's roof onto the heads of two of the robbers.
  • Batman Gambit: Many of Alex's traps rely on either A) the crooks underestimating him because he's a kid, B) noticing a more obvious trap and trying to circumvent it, and/or C) being fed up enough from triggering previous traps that they will act hastily on a chance to capture him.
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  • Bilingual Bonus: When Peter Beaupre learns that Alex took the chip from the toy car, he gets angry and starts yelling at the boy in Polish: "I'm gonna crush you like a cockroach! Where's the disk?"note  (Yes, he actually called the chip "disk".) It helps that Beaupre's actor Aleksander "Olek" Krupa was born in Poland.
  • Bloodless Carnage:
    • Burton Jernigan has a running lawnmower dropped onto his face. We hear agonizing screaming and the scene cuts away. The next time we see him, all he has is a wacky new haircut.
    • And before that, Beaupre and Unger get a trunk full of books dropped on them from a floor up. They act more like they were each hit in the head with a single book. That being said, it did look as if they might have deflected some of the impact with their arms.
      Alice: You got hit with a book?
      Unger: Books. Plural, a trunk full of books. And a set of weights. We got hit twice, ya dumb broad.
      Alice: Excuse me, Mr. Unger. I didn't get taken down by an infant.
  • Bound and Gagged: Alice binds and gags Mrs. Hess with white duct tape to a lawn chair in a garage.
  • Call-Back: Alice hitting Jernigan in the nads with a crowbar while trying to hit Doris the rat is a callback to the first film where Marv whacks Harry in the sternum while aiming for the tarantula.
  • Cassandra Truth: Alex gets blown off by the police officers when he tries to tell them about the spies after they escape for the second time.
  • The Cavalry: Essentially defied, since Alex has things pretty well wrapped up by the time Agent Stucky arrives. However, the fact that he arrives with a convoy consisting of two snowplows, his own car, four police cars, Alex's family in their car, and a fire engine with all sirens blaring definitely invokes this image.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The pet parrot and rat were clearly there to assist Alex in his battle against the spies.
    • Stan's firecrackers. Possibly also a Shout-Out to the way they are used in the first film by Kevin.
    • Played for Laughs with Beaupre eating a single cracker from a pack of two and slips the other in his pocket. When the parrot begins to light the firecrackers and give him away, he offers it the cracker as a bribe, but the parrot has been trained to respond to treats with "double or nothing." When Beaupre admits he only has one, "we have ignition!"
  • Chickenpox Episode: The main character Alex gets chickenpox (which he discovers after scratching himself silly in public), and while staying home from school, he discovers North Korean spies outside his home, kickstarting the plot. The spies end up catching his chickenpox at the end of the movie.
  • Child Hater: Unger. This is best seen when he fails to catch Alex hiding in a closet, and in his anger, he punches a picture of Stan, Molly and Alex, breaking the glass. He also has no problem with the idea of whacking every kid in the neighborhood and burning them.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: Happens to Alice when her pantsuit rips.
  • Darker and Edgier: Taken to whole new levels. The new villains aren't petty house robbers, they're part of a terrorist organization! Alice actually ties Mrs. Hess up in a garage and then leaves the door open, exposing her to the freezing weather conditions. She's not far from unconsciousness when she's finally rescued.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Unger, even when he's half-frozen.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: Alice is terrified of Doris the rat.
  • Expy: Alex is mostly recycled from Kevin. Also a Suspiciously Similar Substitute.
  • Eye Scream: Alex sprays black paint over Beaupre's eyes through the front door's mail slot.
  • Fanservice: The scene where Alice's pants rip, exposing her underwear.
  • Farts on Fire: Happens twice to Unger when he is being shocked with sparks shooting from his ass both times.
  • First-Name Basis: Alice is always referred to by her first name, as opposed to her surname like her male compatriots. By the way, her surname is Ribbons, as revealed by Stuckey.
  • Flower-Pot Drop: Alice trips two wires releasing poinsettia plants from a neighboring house. The first hits her on the head and the second lands on her face.
  • Food as Bribe: The brother's parrot only plays along with the scheme if you have TWO crackers.
    "Double, or nothing"
  • Four-Element Ensemble: This may be completely unintentional, but the Amusing Injuries the four spies suffers at the film cover are related to the four elements. Unger is electrocuted, which made his suit (and farts) burn (fire); Jernigan is sprayed with freezing hoses (water); Alice is covered in dirt after several incidents in mud (earth); and Beaupre has black paint in his face, coming from a gas-powered spray can (air).
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The crooks - Beaupre is choleric, Alice is sanguine, Jernigan is melancholic and Unger is phlegmatic.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The North Korean terrorist.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Everyone assumes this is what befell Alex when he does his Skyward Scream on discovering he has chickenpox.
    Molly: Alex slammed the toilet seat on his thing again.
    Parrot: Bullseye.
    • Dad: (on the phone) I have to go. My kid slammed the toilet seat on his thing.
    • Beaupre gets one from a boxing glove in the foyer's closet, causing him to fall on his gun. Then there's Alice giving one to Jernigan with a crowbar by mistake while trying to hit Doris the rat.
  • Hastily Hidden MacGuffin: The MacGuffin is a stolen computer chip that the villains hid in a remote control car to escape suspicion. After a mix-up at O'Hare, Mrs. Hess ends up with the car and gives it to Alex as payment for shoveling her drive.
  • Hero Antagonist: Alex can count, as the main focus seems to be the criminals trying to get the chip.
  • Hollow-Sounding Head: Alice. Any of the many times she hits her head or is hit in the head by something the audience hears a loud, suspiciously empty sounding *thunk*.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Before cutting a live wire, Unger comments on how stupid kids can be.
  • I Can See You: When the thieves reach the attic, Jernigan finds the television and cameras that Alex had been using.
    Jernigan: He's been watching us the whole time.
    (his colleagues groan)
    Jernigan: Got a camera on us.
  • I Fell for Hours: Jernigan enters through a second-story window in search of Alex and falls through holes in the floors to the basement. While that should be three stories, he appears to go down seven floors.
  • Informed Ability: Remember, the Stupid Crooks of this movie are supposed to be veteran master spies and assassins taking on a kid, and the Curb-Stomp Battle is in favor of the kid.
  • Instant Soprano: After Doris the rat climbs up Jernigan's pant leg and Alice tries to club her.
  • Jaw Drop: When Agent Stuckey relates to Alex's family what is going on, his brother's, sister's, and the police chief's jaws all drop.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sure, Stan and Molly like to pick on Alex. However, when he's placed in a dangerous situation, their Big Sibling Instincts kick in. Shown when they refuse to let the Feds leave without explaining why Alex is in danger.
    Karen: Why is Alex in danger?
    Stan: She asked you a question, sir.
    FBI Agent Stuckey: I'm not at liberty to discuss it, son.
    (Molly runs over and slams the door shut)
    Molly: The "it" you're referring to is my little brother.
    (Stuckey realizes he has to tell the truth, even if it is a matter of National Security)
  • Kiss of Death: Alice kisses Mrs. Hess on the forehead, after gagging her and taping her to a chair and then leaving the door open so the winter air will freeze her to death.
  • Last-Name Basis: Beaupre, Unger and Jernigan are all referred to as "Mr. (surname)", or by their surnames alone. Only Jernigan gets a single mention of his given name (Burton). The former two's first names are revealed by Stuckey to be Peter and Earl, respectively.
  • MacGuffin: The microchip that the North Koren terrorists are after.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Mrs. Hess fills the role this time, though unlike her two predecessors, who just have undeserved reputations, she's rude and surly until the chips are down and she realizes there's real danger. From her point of view, Alex is this; she sees him as a brat and his entire involvement in the plot starts when she gives him the car because she doesn't want it and didn't want to properly pay him for shoveling the walk, but as she tells him later, "you're a very sweet young man, I just never took the time to know you."
  • Ms. Fanservice: Regardless of her mean spirit - Alice is a highly attractive woman. Admirers should be pleased with the sight of her rear end in form-fitting pants. It's most noticeable when she's running in yoga pants while pushing a phony baby stroller, and again when she bends over to pick up a hat and rips her pants. Her red underwear is seen underneath. A less appealing example occurs when she squeezes into a dumb waiter. Her butt hovers directly over the camera for a brief second.
  • Mood Whiplash: After the spies suffer through most of the traps, which is humorous, Alex's mom Karen calls him. The film gets a little tense because at this point Alex is trying to get her to not come home while Alice, Jernigan and Unger begin to search the house. Also Beaupre listens to the conversation between Alex and Karen using the basement phone so he can plan his next move.
  • Mythology Gag: Alex, when he discovers that he has the chickenpox, lets out a scream that gives Kevin a run for his money.
  • Never Trust a Title: It has nothing to do with Home Alone 1 and 2.
  • No Time to Explain: Alex ends up doing this a lot near the end, since he's spent days by this point giving full explanations to the authorities but are quickly dismissed.
  • Oddball in the Series: The only film that doesn't take place on Christmas, and the only one where the antagonists are international terrorists instead of just local thieves.
  • Only One Name: Subverted. The full names of all four of the bad guys are revealed by Stuckey: Peter Beaupre, Earl Unger, Burton Jernigan and Alice Ribbons.
  • Parental Obliviousness: The parents aren't on vacation, they're just at work. Several of the booby traps were already there when they leave on the final day; in fact, at one point Alex has to fetch his mom's coat so that she doesn't find out about one trap in the closet.
  • Properly Paranoid: After suffering through several of his traps, the mercenaries pull their weapons and start clearing the house for Alex, though they end up grabbing the Idiot Ball toward the end.
  • Rear Window Witness: Alex is home sick from school and witnesses the burglary of a neighbor's home. Unfortunately for Alex, the authorities disregard his explanations.
  • Rule of Perception: Beaupre can't tell he's holding a toy gun spray-painted black, despite it being about three pounds lighter than the Glock he'd been carrying and having a suction cup sticking out of the barrel. Granted, Alex apparently stores this particular toy gun in what looks like an actual gun case, so barring the suction cup ammunition it may have been modified to be much more realistic than most toys.
  • Schmuck Bait: Alex's homemade electric fence is overlayed with red yarn and a very deliberately childish sign warning everyone that it's an electric fence and not to touch it. Unger falls for it hook, line and sinker.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: After the police fail to catch the spies twice, Alex decides to deal with the burglars himself by using his remote control car to film their next burglary in the act. When that eventually leads to the discovery of the chip, he calls an Air Force recruiting office, which then alerts the FBI. When he realizes the spies know where he lives, then he sets up the booby traps.
  • Sequel Escalation: Big time! In the previous two movies, the stakes were that the Wet Bandits might pull off a robbery (either the McCallister house or a toy store). In this one, North Korea might blow up the world!
  • Sneeze of Doom: Subverted. Alex hides in the closet but avoids detection by Unger, even after he sneezes.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Practically all of the initial Amusing Injuries the crooks suffer are a direct result of dismissing Alex as Just a Kid.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The spies get angrier and angrier the more they suffer the traps to the point that they pull out their weapons once they are inside Alex's house. Beaupre tries to remain calm but when he finds out the microchip is not in the toy car he starts to yell at Alex in Polish and threatens him with his gun (which ended up being fake).
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Subverted when three out of four of the terrorists are captured by the police at the end, but it seems like Beaupre, their leader, got away. However, it turns out he was just hiding inside a mini-igloo in the backyard when the snarly parrot exposes him.
  • Villain Protagonist: Beaupre and his team can count, as the main focus seems to be them trying to get the chip back.
  • Villain Respect: Beaupre listens in on a call between Alex and his mother. During the call, Alex talks his mother into not returning home quickly and therefore keeping her out of harm's way, to which he remarks:
    Beaupre: What a brave little fellow. (grins)
  • Visual Pun: Lampshaded by Unger when the police find him and Jernigan frozen in the swimming pool:
    Officer: Freeze!
    Unger: You gotta be kidding me.
  • Watch Where You're Going!: Alice chases after the remote controlled car towards a hedge, unaware that Beaupre is running from the other side to intercept it. They jump from opposite directions at the exact same time, and their heads collide.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After Beaupre speaks with the terrorists' employer, the latter disappears and is never seen or mentioned again.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Averted by Doris, the white pet rat.

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