Let’s lower the bar here, straight off.
Say you’re snowed in, the kids are going stir crazy and you’ve still got power and Netflix. If those kids are “over” “Home Alone,” and not yet in their picky/discriminating taste years (say 7 and under), “Christmas Break-In” makes a perfectly passable time-killer. For them.
Adults? As you were, people. This isn’t for you. At all.
It’s about a Duluth area nine year-old, Izzy (Cameron Seely) with visions of shredding guitar solos dancing through her head. She’s so anxious to get that new Fender for Christmas that’s she’s Sparpied “Fender” and “Guitar” on her parents’ heads (Denise Richards, Sean O’Bryan). They’ve got to get to the “one day/half off sale” at the guitar store after work, on the last day before school Christmas break.
They just HAVE to! Izzy’s told everybody in school it’s happening. She’s told the janitor who gives her guitar lessons (Danny Glover) this, too.
But there’s a blizzard coming. Her workaholic parents forget to pick her up. And by the time they remember, driving is no easy thing.
Izzy’s all alone, waiting in an empty school. Well, empty, save for the three crooks (Katrina Begin, Douglas Spain, Jake von Wagoner) who just broke in to hide out.
They knocked over a Salvation Army Store and had planned to skip down. But numbskull Ned (von Wagoner) isn’t much of a getaway driver, when it comes to directions. And he chose an ice cream truck as their getaway car.
Testy Barbie (Begin), his sister, is their leader. She and the muscle, Rico (Spain) plan on spending the bags of change they scored from the bell ringer charity on umbrella drinks in Mexico this Christmas.
And as Ray has come back to get Izzy after her parents tell him about their screwup, the getaway just got more complicated. Izzy is on the spot and on task, gathering gear and a war plan for foiling the bad guys and saving Christmas!
Glover gets the film’s few laughs, telling the robbers “haunted school” stories to scare them off (Izzy secretly provides sound effects).
The parents try various ways to reach the school — stealing a snowmobile, for instance. None of these are developed, as there was no budget for stunts. Apparently. The same goes for Izzy’s guitar mania. They always cut away lest we see how little girl fingers have a hard time with Fender fretboards.
The villains manage only a giggle, here and there. The biggest laugh might be Begin’s blown line making it past the script supervisor, the director and the editor.
Unless the line was written as “What does the time of year have ANYTHING to do with it?”
Anyhoo, this “Home Alone” knockoff has a ways to go to reach “middling.” But if the kids are stuck inside without appropriate fresh-made holiday fare to watch, it’ll do.
MPAA Rating: Unrated, pretty much a G.
Cast: Cameron Seely, Danny Glover, Katrina Begin, Douglas Spain, Jake von Wagoner, Sean O’Bryan and Denise Richards.
Credits: Directed b y Michael Kampa, script by Spanky Dustin Ward. A Koan/Netflix release
Running time: 1:26