Sunday, March 29, 2015

Movie Review #236: "Home" (2015)

Ticket Price: $12.50
Director: Tim Johnson
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 34 minutes
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An alien race known as the Boov invade Earth and relocate all humans to special colonies. The Boov are masters of running away as they flee and jump from planet to planet to avoid their most fearsome enemies, the Gorg. They also live rather boring lives and are expected to act in a uniform manner. Oh (Jim Parsons) does not fit in with the rest of the Boov and wants to be friends with everyone and have fun and throw parties. When Oh's party invitation accidentally gets sent across the entire universe, even to the Gorg, he faces punishment, so he is forced to do what Boov do best and run away and become a fugitive. While on the run, he meets 'Tip' (Rihanna), a young girl who is trying to find her mother (Jennifer Lopez), who she was separated from when the Boov first invaded. Tip's mom has been relocated to one of the human colonies, and if Oh helps Tip find her mother, Tip will help Oh escape.

"Home" can best be described as cute. This is quite a cute movie, despite what your preconceived notions about it might be. The Boov are a technologically advanced race of aliens that seem to lack common sense. The film starts with their colonization of Earth and the subsequent relocation of all of Earth's human population. The Boov don't see themselves as invaders, but rather, they think they are liberators.We believe Hitler said the same thing, but you know, six of one, half dozen of the other. The Boov seem to lack empathy, too. It's not that they are cold-hearted, they just lack the ability to understand and read the emotions of others. They are actually a very self-centered race of aliens.

They are lead by Captain Smeck, voiced by wonderful, iconic Steve Martin, who reached his place of power because he is the best Boov when it comes to running away. Despite his position of unquestioned power, he is probably the most oblivious of all the Boov. Jim Parsons voices Oh, a Boov who is not like other Boov in that he desires friendship and parties and seems to want to make others happy, all while having fun himself. The Boov and Oh in particular speak this strange, disjointed speech, and the best way we can describe it is this: think about the "I Can Haz Cheezburger" meme. Can you picture those cute kittehs in your mind? Well, think of those words out of order and jumbled around, and that's how the Boov speak. Oh is the cutest character in the film. He has this big tooth in the center of his face and a goofy little smile that looks like a baby does when it poops its diaper, but without all the nastiness. He turns colors when he lies and when he is confused and has these humongous bright eyes, the secret to any successful animated character. Parsons does an excellent job voicing and bringing this character to life, but a lot of the humor throughout the movie seems either really lame or very forced. As an aside, now we can say we have seen something Jim Parsons is in that we enjoyed. Outside of Oh, Pig the cat is also an adorable character and manages to bring a few laughs throughout the film. The human character, Gratuity Tucci, nicknamed 'Tip,' is voiced by Rihanna. Yes, that Rihanna, the singer. You know, the one who posts herself smoking blunts and shows her half-naked body all over Instagram any chance she gets. That great role model! Tip was left behind when all the humans were relocated to the colonies and now, she just wants to find and be reunited with her mom. For us, Tip was one of the weaker characters, even though she is technically the other main character. Rihanna is in her late 20's and sounds like an adult woman. Tip is supposed to be a kid in 7th grade, but very little about her reads 'kid.' Through the context of the dialogue, it is implied that she is about 12 years old, but you couldn't tell this without it being said, even in passing. Tip is even drawn to look closer to 17 or 18 when really, she's not. To us, Rihanna was a complete miscast. We like how they made Tip be from Barbados just like Rihanna, but we couldn't get past how mature she sounded. Even Jim Parsons, who is in his 40's, fits his part better than she does, especially since he can inflect many different tones voice, as well as an array of emotions other than '42-year old man.' To be honest, it seems like Rihanna and J-Lo, who voices Tip's mom Lucy and only has 5 minutes of screen/voice time, are only in this film so they can over-saturate its soundtrack with their music. Between the 5-6 Rihanna songs throughout and the J-Lo number at the key moment at both end of the movie and through the credit roll, too much is too much. That being said, Tip's quest to find her mom is the main heart and message of the film. It espouses the importance of family and love, which is always a good message and lesson for kids to receive. The other lesson here is to be your own person regardless of what others are doing. If you want to be nice and happy and have parties, fine, have fun doing it! You don't have to run away from life, but rather, you should just embrace it.

In the grand scheme of kids movies, "Home" falls somewhat short of its Dreamworks partner "How to Train Your Dragon," but it is not as bad as 2013's Relativity Media film "Free Birds." "Home" does have a lot of generic-ness about it and we have a feeling not everyone will love this film. However, kids will enjoy the bright, flashy colors displayed all over the place, as well as the vast number of Boov aliens with their noodley appendages and silly voices. Adults will be able to tolerate the overall sentiment this movie tries to convey and will not hate being dragged to this for or against their will. Though there is definitely a clear message here, isn't one that touches those hard to reach heartstrings like a movie such as "Up" or "Toy Story" might, but it is a noble effort for sure. If you take it for what it is worth, the cuteness will probably outweigh most major flaws this movie may contain, especially for your little ones.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 48%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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