5.5 out of 10
Jim Parsons as Oh (voice)
Rihanna as Gratuity ‘Tip’ Tucci (voice)
Steve Martin as Captain Smek (voice)
Jennifer Lopez as Lucy (voice)
Matt Jones as Kyle (voice)
Directed by Tim Johnson
“Home” features a unique alien invasion and some cool production design, but as far as alien/little girl team-ups go, “Lilo & Stitch” did it better.
This movie is based on the book “The True Meaning of Smekday” by Adam Rex.
The Boov are an alien race on the run from another group of malevolent aliens. Looking for a new home, they decide to settle on Earth. But what should they do with all of the current human inhabitants? They politely remove them from their homes and place them in new custom-made communities that they believe they will like. After displacing them, the Boov then take over the human homes and cities as their own. As far as alien invasions go, this is a very PG one.
All seems well until an alien misfit named Oh accidentally sends an e-mail party invitation to the entire galaxy in a tragic accidental “Reply All” incident. With only 40 hours until it reaches the malicious aliens, Oh becomes the most hated creature on Earth. But when he goes on the run, he happens to meet Tip Tucci. Tip is a 7th grader who was separated from her mother during the invasion. Now looking for a way to reunite with her mother, Tip enlists the aid of Oh to find her. With his alien technology and her determination, they undertake their mission to not just find Tip’s mother, but to possibly save the world.
“Home” is rated PG for mild action and some rude humor.
“Home” has some very interesting production design. All of the Boov technology is bubble based. Their cars are bubbles. Their luggage is a bubble. Their garbage bins are giant floating bubbles. Combine all of those floating objects with 3D and you have a fun animated film to behold. The Boov themselves are interesting, too. When they are frightened or sad or mad, they change colors like an octopus. They skitter around on stubby little legs. This makes an interesting and unique alien design that we haven’t really seen before.
As for the voice acting, both Rihanna and Jim Parsons do fine jobs. While Parsons has a number of cartoon credits in his filmography, this is Rihanna’s first foray into animation. She gives a solid performance as Tip, the emotional teenager trying to find her mother (unlike most teens who try to evade them). Tip has crazy hair, a fiery temper, and an unusual body type that girls will love. And she has a cat named Pig that steals most of the scenes that he’s in. Parsons also plays Oh. He’s practically a cartoon in real life, so his voice is well-suited for the animated misfit. They are joined by an energetic Steve Martin as the Boov Leader Smek and Jennifer Lopez as Tip’s mother Lucy.
What Didn’t Work:
While the voice acting is fine and the production art is unique, the whole production seems really familiar. This is a lot like the DreamWorks Animation version of “Lilo & Stitch,” but instead of Stitch they have Jar Jar Binks. In fact, Jar Jar and Oh have a lot in common. Both of them are misfits rejected by their societies. Both are klutzes who somehow manage to save the day. Both talk funny. Both are amphibious creatures. Both are rather annoying. While Parsons’ voice fits the character of Oh, it’s a bit difficult to take in large doses. And any film that has a lead character that comparable to Jar Jar Binks is in for trouble.
Unfortunately, “Home” is rather dull and predictable. I was able to anticipate every beat of the film in the first five minutes. There are absolutely no surprises here. And continuing the comparison to “Lilo & Stitch,” the Disney film did literally everything better. Lilo is way more quirky and funny than Tip. Stitch is a lot more gross and funny than Oh. The action was more intense. The music was a lot better with Elvis rather than Rihanna and Lopez. And the overall story was a lot more satisfying. Other than a unique version of an alien invasion, “Home” isn’t very engaging to adults.
That being said, I think anyone 10 and under will enjoy it a lot. I took my 10-year-old son and he enjoyed it quite a bit. But a truly great family film entertains the whole family, not just the youngsters. I think with a little tweak here and there, this could have been a more enjoyable film for adults as well. But as it stands, Oh is just Eh.
The Bottom Line:
If you need to entertain some elementary age kids for a few hours, this is worth seeing in theaters and in 3D. Otherwise wait for the “Home” video.