PLOT: Oh is an impossibly dopey alien who finds himself on the run from his own race. When he discovers a teenage girl searching for her mother - one of the many humans that Ohs people transplanted to Australia - the two must work together to find a place they both belong.
REVIEW: In the new film from DreamWorks Animation, an alien race has taken over the planet Earth, and made it their own. Yet this odd race of cowards - with the ultimate cowardly leader Captain Smek (Steve Martin) - offers up a goofy charm. Its not hard to see remnants of LILO & STITCH as well as E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL in this lighthearted fable about friendship and yes, finding a home. Sure this isnt the finest, most creative feature from DreamWorks, but it has a big happy heart that younger viewers will find impossible to resist. It also has a couple of catchy pop songs from two of its leading ladies.
The Boov are an alien race who seem to always be running away from their mortal enemy, the Gorg. When they discover what they hope to be their new home, right here on Earth, they happily make it their own. The humans are all gathered and sent to Australia, in a place the Boov set up as Happy Human Town. However, their happy new home is at risk after one clueless Boov named Oh (Jim Parsons) accidentally sends a party evite to the Gorg. Suddenly a fugitive from his own race, Oh runs into one of the few humans that hasnt been transported, a young girl named Tip (Rihanna). The two work together to save both their homes, and reunite the lonely teen with her mother (Jennifer Lopez).
Adapted from Adam Rexs novel The True Meaning of Smekday, there is a sweetness that lingers in this animated adventure. Much of that has to do with Parsons and Rihanna doing a fine job voicing the leading characters. Not surprisingly there is an adorable pet, a cat named Pig, that offers up a little humor in the process. Parsons manages to bring his very distinct humor to Oh, and Rihanna offers a unexpected warmth to Tip. Thankfully, they dont try and mess too much with her accent, with one line of dialogue expressing that she is from Barbados. Hey, it worked for me. As well, Steve Martin is very funny as the inept leader of the Boov who is far more clueless than poor Oh, who is shut out from the alien race.
As cute and cuddly as HOME may be, it is a bit of a mess from a storytelling standpoint. It takes a bit too long to start off, and drags a little near the end. And while it is adapted from the the Adam Rex novel, it takes quite a few liberties in order to make it perhaps more accessible. This includes the addition of a number of pop songs from Rihanna and one from Jennifer Lopez. The music is certainly designed to sell the soundtrack, yet in one climactic moment, it seems that they decided to pump up the jam over the dialogue. This choice could be that the performances couldnt quite deliver in the emotional scene, and it is a strange and distracting move that actually diminishes the emotional impact.
The animation behind HOME features a world of color, and it occasionally feels like something weve all seen before. Most of the visuals work, yet there is nothing terribly thrilling about this big, bright Boov filled world. Still, the Boov border on adorable and the Gorg is fairly menacing. As far as the 3D, you have a couple of moments that stand out, but it adds little to the experience. Director Tim Johnson - with a screenplay by Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember - manages to bring a little life to the adventures of Tip and Oh - even if it does seem slightly recycled.
While HOME is far from DreamWorks best, it is certainly not a bad film. In fact, it is mostly a fun time. Rihanna is a far better choice than expected, and Parsons delivers his quirky humor impeccably well. Martin is also terrific as the comedically inept Boov leader. The only major casting mistake is Lopez who brings very little of anything to a mom looking for her daughter. Thankfully, she has a minor role. In the end, HOME is a sweet tale of finding out where you belong. It may not be terribly original or deep, but there is a certain charm in the appealing adventures of a girl named Tip, an alien named Oh, and a cat named Pig.
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