Home (2015) / Animation-Comedy
MPAA Rated: PG for mild action and some rude humor
Running Time: 94 min.
Cast (voices): Jim Parson, Rihanna, Steve Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Matt Jones
Director: Tim Johnson
Screenplay: Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember (based on the children's book, "The True Meaning of Smekday", by Adam Rex
Review published March 27, 2015
Home is a Dreamworks animated feature that continues their venture into trying to tap into Pixar's vaunted territory, and while it does come up quite short in terms of quality, it still emerges as a worthwhile film to entertain younger viewers for a spell without being taxing on the adults accompanying them.
The Boov are an alien race who've moved around from planet to planet, not for conquest, but out of fear of annihilation, as their own cowardice they've come to embrace as a source of great honor. They're perpetually running from their main nemesis, the Gorg, who seem to always be on the hunt for them. Their latest planet they've made their home is Earth, where they've sequestered all of the humans into the Australian outback while they do as they please around the rest of the planet.
Oh (Parsons, Wish I Was Here) is a Boov who doesn't quite fit in with the rest of his alien brethren, trying desperately to make friends, but mostly just ends up being a source of overbearing irritation. One day, as he's trying to send someone an e-vite to a housewarming party, he accidentally clicks the "send all" button, which not only tells all of the Boovs where to find him, but it's also going to eventually reach the dreaded Gorg they've been trying to hide from. The cataclysmic faux pas makes him a pariah by drawing the ire of Boov Caprain Smek (Martin, It's Complicated), and while he tries to high-tail it to Antarctica to hide even more, he comes across a young girl named Gratuity 'Tip' Tucci (Rihanna, Battleship), who comes out of hiding herself, looking for her mother (Lopez, The Boy Next Door), who is one of humanity's displaced.
While the movie is short on story development, it makes up for it with colorful characters (literally colorful, as the Boov are like 'mood rings' who change into a variety of neon shades, depending on their current emotion), and an escapist adventure that occasionally amuses enough to cover over the many opportunities for lulls of familiarity. The delivery primarily aims at younger kids, who will likely key in on all of the madcap energy and vivid color palette, plus some cute alien characters and Tip's adorable cat named Pig (a calico with a corkscrew tail). Adults will struggle more to pay attention to the anemic plot, so I'd probably not recommend the film unless you're doing so for the benefit of someone of elementary school age.
Of course, it does feature an egregious instance of one of my pet peeves by having nearly all of the aliens able to speak English (though not quite accurately), which they do even to each other, and even when they haven't even arrived on Earth yet. I suppose the lack of explanation is indicative of the thrust of the film as a whole -- don't put too much to tax the minds of younger viewers so that they can just get into the ready-made humor and visual distractions without any overhead. As such, Home may keep tykes eyes on the theater screen, but it's not quite enough to engage the minds of their parents, who'll secretly wish they could return back to their own home before the 94-minute run time of Home reaches its conclusion.
©2015 Vince Leo