Home Alone is one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time. It is incredibly quotable and is responsible for some of the most iconic scenes in movie history. It also tells a heartwarming story. How to Deter a Robber channels the Macaulay Culkin classic. One night, Madison (Vanessa Marano) and her boyfriend Jimmy (Benjamin Papac) decide to have some fun at a vacant house. They awake to find the house trashed while they are the prime suspects.
The film is definitely more than a clone. For starters, How to Deter a Robber has more of a mystery element to it. Initially, Madison and Jimmy plan to find out who the culprits are. It is a classic premise that is fun when well done. How to Deter a Robber is also much more about the setting than the Christmas season. There are gorgeous shots of the Wisconsin winter. The snowed in cabins are more than just backdrops for the shenanigans. The movie gives off more of a comforting aura than a holiday one.
The performances are fantastic. This especially true of the two leads. Marano is great as Madison. She is funny, a smart ass, and something of a spoiled brat. In other words, she is an eighteen year old. Papac is also great in his role. More than just playing the straight man, he adds to How to Deter a Robber. He is very natural and the chemistry between him and Marano further adds to the movie. When the story changes tones, the two are able to keep beat. This keeps the audience onboard the entire time.
When the Madison and Jimmy finally discover the robbers (or vice versa) is when How to Deter a Robber really shines. The booby traps placed in the home are ingenious enough to impress Rambo. The robbers are also great characters. The movie does make them a little too likable, but not so much audiences do not want to see them get their comeuppance. It is during the scenes with the robbers that Uncle Andy (Chris Mulkey) is also at his best.
A home invasion comedy is not a genre mash up audiences would expect – or even want. Home invasion films tend to be some of the most uncomfortable and tense ones around. How to Deter a Robber Blends both styles together perfectly. This is not an easy task and can even be conrfusing. The film is a fun mix that will entertain the entire time.