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article imageReview: ‘Home’ relies on funny characters to alleviate predictable story Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Mar 27, 2015 in Entertainment
‘Home’ is a cute and simple animated comedy about an alien outcast who befriends an Earthling after his species invades her planet.
The world (and apparently the universe) is full of people who don’t fit in and are, therefore, excluded and/or ignored by their peers. It seems like no matter how many are there to say it’s okay to be different, there are dozens more shouting the opposite. But not being like everyone else can have its advantages too. In Home, an alien’s specialness is what eventually elevates him to hero status.
Oh (Jim Parsons) is one of the friendliest and most enthusiastic Boov in the galaxy. But he’s also clumsy and marches to the beat of his own drum in many ways. As a result, his kindness is not readily returned. The Boov are a small, purple alien race that prefers to avoid confrontation; so whenever their enemy, the Gorg, move in to attack, the Boov runaway. Their latest evacuation is taking them to Earth, where they will relocate its inferior human population and appropriate their homes. However during the forced and startling migration, 15-year-old Tip (Rihanna) is left behind. Alone and afraid in the middle of an alien invasion, she must figure out where they’ve taken her mother. Meanwhile Oh has screwed up again on a grand scale and is evading arrest. When the two fugitives cross paths, they agree to help each other with their respective difficulties and forge an unlikely friendship in the process.
There are two audiences to which this film is trying to appeal: fans of Parsons and The Big Bang Theory, and younger children. The most entertaining aspects of the film deal with Oh’s social awkwardness and ignorance of Earth — both characteristics shared to some extent by Parsons’ TV personality, Sheldon Cooper. Even several of Oh’s facial expressions are recognizable and clearly fashioned after the actor’s famous looks. At the same time, much of the movie is quite silly and does not resemble the clever humour found in a Pixar picture. From Boov mistaking washing machines for houses to Captain Smek’s “shhsher” with which he quiets other Boov by smacking them on the head to Oh’s involuntary dance moves, it’s not incredibly smart but it’s still entertaining.
Once all the excitement quiets down, and Oh and Tip are comfortably in the wind, the quality of the film takes a bit of a dip too. The antagonism between the two characters declines and the despair of their situations is allowed to briefly take hold. Drifting through a montage of clouds and famous landmarks, the story is put on autopilot until they reach their Parisian destination. Then the pace gradually improves again, ultimately reaching the inevitable moments of sadness embedded in all animated movies.
The cast is a selection of diverse voices, including those mentioned, Steve Martin and Jennifer Lopez. Parsons could not be more perfectly chosen, though the familiarity of his voice can be simultaneously distracting from the narrative. Martin is fantastic as the overconfident yet cowardly Boov leader whose main concern is his own survival. And all Boov voice actors should be commended for mastering the aliens’ terrible but hilarious grammar. Rihanna is passable as a teenage girl whose emotions range from hopelessly lost to playfully young. Lopez’s role is limited as Tip’s mother, Lucy, but she’s still a convincing matriarch who’d do anything for her daughter.
Oh and Tip’s journey is far from perfect, but still an enchanting road trip as her cat, Pig, curls up on Oh’s head in the Slushious.
Director: Tim Johnson
Starring: Jim Parsons, Rihanna and Steve Martin
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