Colorful Characters Prove There's No Place Like HOME
- Susan Ellingburg Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2015 27 Mar
DVD Release Date: July 28, 2015
Theatrical Release Date: March 27, 2015
Rating: PG (for mild action and some rude humor)
Run Time: 94 minutes
Director: Tim Johnson
Cast: Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Steve Martin, Matt Jones, Jennifer Lopez
We always knew someday the aliens would come... but no one expected them to be quite like this. Welcome to what director Tim Johnson (Over the Hedge) calls the first "post-apocalyptic, alien invasion buddy comedy, road trip, animated movie." Otherwise known as the latest Dreamworks release, HOME.
Our story opens on "Moving Day" when the alien Boov take up residence on planet Earth. Not to worry, all the humans have been transplanted to new homes on a previously uninhabited part of the planet, along with everything the Boov believe humans need to make them happy. All, that is, except Tip (Rihanna, Battleship). She got left behind when her mom (Jennifer Lopez, Parker) was swept away, so Tip and her cat named Pig have no choice but to set out alone to find her. Making her animated feature debut, Rihanna hits all the right notes as scared-but-sassy Tip. "I understand the way Tip thinks," the singer says, "as well as her flaws, ambition, sass and attitude." It shows in her voice; we hear both grit and giggles in Tip's journey.
They travelers are not alone for long. After car trouble leaves them stranded at an abandoned convenience store, Tip and Pig reluctantly join forces with Oh (Jim Parsons) one of the Boov who is on the run for reasons of his own (let's just say he had a little trouble with the difference between "send" and "send all" ...a dilemma most adults in the audience can appreciate).
Oh is not your ordinary Boov. He's prone to making "unintentionally hilarious" mistakes and got his name from his "many friends" as the sight of him invariably prompted despairing sighs of "Oh…" Parsons was the obvious choice to voice Oh, since the earnest alien shares several qualities with Sheldon, Parsons' Big Bang Theory character. He voices Oh with utter sincerity while skillfully navigating the entertaining Boovian version of the English language created by The True Meaning of Smekday author Adam Rex.
Much like Emmet from The Lego Movie, Oh has a relentlessly positive attitude. He enjoys life and wants the other Boov to, too—but they're more interested in running away and keeping to themselves. Running away is a highly prized character trait among Boov; their far-from-fearless leader Captain Smek (Steve Martin, The Pink Panther 2) claims it's the only way their people can avoid annihilation by their relentless enemy, the Gorg.
Back at the convenience store, Oh "repairs" Tip's car with assorted supplies resulting in a fabulous vehicle powered by slushies and equipped with a variety of food-based defense systems. It's an ongoing gag that manages to stay funny throughout the story.
While Oh is a naïve but highly intelligent alien, and Tip is a smart teen with pluck to spare, Pig the cat is just that: a cat. He's almost always in the middle of the action but mostly sleeps through it, often on top of Oh's head. What with aliens, gravity control, and flying cars around, having a normal pet doing everyday cat things in the midst of the craziness is the sprinkle on this cupcake of a story.
As Oh and Tip continue their quest, Oh finds himself on his own journey of self-discovery. His whole worldview turns upside down as he comes to realize many things he took for granted about himself, his people, and others just aren't true. There are some nice teachable moments to bring up with the kids at home, such as when characters act one way because they're feeling another.
HOME is a delightful movie. No, it's not groundbreaking or amazing or the greatest movie since ever—but it is charming and sweet and has genuinely funny moments. It's rated PG for mild action and some rude humor but as "rude humor" goes it was pretty polite; even the bathroom humor was more amusing than gross. All the adults and children in my group enjoyed it.
P.S. There's no need to stay through the end of the credits unless you just like to read the names of the multitudes involved in making the picture; there's nothing on the screen at the end other than the Twentieth Century Fox logo.
CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers):
- Drugs/Alcohol: Drinks are served at a couple of parties, but Boov don’t consume human food and it didn’t appear the humans were drinking alcohol. Captain Smek tends to eat random things with somewhat explosive results, but they’re not necessarily shown as an addiction.
- Language/Profanity: A few references to digestive functions including commentary that Boov have a third variation of output in addition to humans’ numbers one and two; the travelers stop for a pee break.
- Sex/Nudity: None
- Violent/Frightening/Intense: Captain Smek tends to bop people with his “shoosher” and there is a fair amount of cartoon-variety violence, often involving concession stand-type food. It does get a little tense at the climax when a character appears to be in danger of being crushed to death.