Looking for light, cheerful entertainment for the littlies these holidays? Meet Home, the latest animated family film from DreamWorks Animation.
More derivative than you expect from DreamWorks, which has delivered originals like Shrek, How to Train a Dragon and Kung Fu Panda, Home borrows from alien/child buddy movies such as E.T. and Lilo and Stitch, and hits hard the message that no matter how unique (read: quirky misfit) you are, there's a home for all of us.
Home also borrows from various predecessors when it comes to character personalities. The Boov are an alien race of cute, boxy-looking little cowards who are constantly on the run, taking over planets in an attempt to hide from their enemy, the Gorg. Perhaps best described as second-rate minions (from Despicable Me), the Boov change colour depending on their emotions. That's the most original thing about them though they are undeniably cute and will appeal to younger kids (memo merchandise department: they would make adorable kids' night lights).
The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parson is instantly recognisable as the voice of Oh, our hero Boov. Nerdy, bubbly and with an uncharacteristic individualistic streak, Oh is always in trouble and the guy everyone tries to avoid. After the Boov colonise earth, rehousing humans in the Australian desert, Oh accidentally sends an invitation to his housewarming party to everyone in the universe, alerting the Gorg to their new hideout.
On the run from the rest of the Boov, Oh teams up with Gratuity "Tip" Tucci (Rihanna), a young girl who escaped the human round-up, to save the day.
Parsons brings Oh to life with humour and heart, and Rihanna's Tip is feistier than your average animated girl lead character (as you'd expect!) and lends her voice to a couple of songs on the soundtrack.
The Boov leader, Captain Smek, voiced by Steve Martin, is less successful - he seems to be channelling King Julien from Madagascar.
But mostly this is one is for the kids. Some quick-witted humour aside there's little new for parents to enjoy, but the offspring will enjoy the snappy pacing, colourful animation and wacky ideas.
My 6 and 8-year-olds laughed and cried, which is, after all, what matters.
Steve Martin, Rihanna, Jim Parsons, Jennifer Lopez
Derivative, but fun for the kids