Twelve year old Cole (Judah Lewis) is pretty mature for his age. He watches R-rated movies, he has a huge IQ, he has strong opinions on Mad Men, and shows many other traits of a responsible young man. However, due to his fear of just about anything that isnt make-believe, his parents leave him with a babysitter, Bee (Samara Weaving), whenever they leave the house. The embarrassment of being the only kid on the block who still has a babysitter is made bearable by the fact that Bee and Cole happen to be pretty close, or even full on buddies.
What follows is a Home Alone style horror-comedy film that is literally never even remotely scary and only sometimes funny. Don't get me wrong, the film has its moments, but I couldn't look past the overall lack of polish and half baked ideas, both in the script and the direction. I think with a few more revisions and a director who's better at balancing tones, this could have been something special. Sure, it's a dumb premise, but it's unique. These types of films have worked before. Just look at something like Zombieland, or Tucker and Dale vs. Evil.
The writing is really poor here. Sure, there are more than a few good laughs throughout, and the premise has promise, but for the most part, the situations and dialogue feel forced and the story is half baked. The grand finale is forshadowed very early on and instead of feeling rewarded for paying attention, I just watched the screen and thought to myself, "Oh, okay. I get it". There's no real surprises. Even the post credit stinger feels like a last minute addition by the screenwriter to hopefully secure a job writing the sequel. That stinger, plus most of the twists or surprises, just makes you want to face palm. If you are easy to point out plot holes, you will have a field day here. While most of the dialogue is atrocious, I do appreciate the long scene where a character explains why a xenomorph would be the perfect teammate on a mission to save the world.
If McG made one good decision, it's the casting of the young lead, Judah Lewis. This kid is genuinely endearing, and while most of his lines are obvious and on the nose, he delivers them with the perfect combination of optimism and sarcastic naïveté. The film's best moments are when Cole is just doing his thing. This kid's a star, even if the rest of the cast are pretty average. Bella Thorne sticks out as a unbearable and loud sore thumb. Her arc is so eye-roll inducing and she does no favours for it. There are two notable comedic performances by Ken Marino and Leslie Bibb as Cole's parents, who get the film's best laugh towards the climax.
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