By Bill Wine
KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A green card won’t help this alien. He’s an extraterrestrial stranded on Earth, with no desire to phone home.
That’s his name: “Oh.”
Home is a comedic animated science fiction adventure about a misfit from another planet who comes to Earth when it is invaded (in child-friendly, benign fashion, with the invaders floating in on bubble-like pods) by polite, cowardly, conformist aliens known as the Boov, who are like walking mood rings in that they change colors to match their emotions.
These sit-down chameleons have been chased away by their enemies, the Transformers-like Gorg.
And because the Boov more or less specialize in running away from trouble (their motto is, “It’s never too late to run away”), they leave and head for the already-inhabited Earth, which, looking down on humanity as they do, they hope and proceed to colonize.
Their history has been to travel the universe in search of a place to live, then to find one and live there until the Gorg show up and chase them away, then destroy that location so that the Boov cannot return.
Jim Parsons, the star of television’s “The Big Bang Theory,” provides the voice of Oh, the motormouth purple alien whose name comes from the sound that other disappointed Boov make whenever he turns up.
Oh befriends a self-reliant, twelve-year-old human girl named Gratuity (“Tip”) Tucci, whose voice is provided by pop singer Rihanna and who is still trying not only to adjust to the Midwestern town she has recently moved to with her mother, but to find her missing mother, who has disappeared because she is one of the many humans rounded up by the Boov.
Steve Martin is the voice of Captain Smek, the Boovs’ entitled, self-appointed leader, who is trying his best to find a home for Oh and other members of the Boov in their refuge on Earth, vacuuming up human after human, taking over their homes, and depositing them halfway across the globe in relocation camps in Australia.
Oh’s spoken English comes from the time he spends watching television. He promises to help Tip reunite with her mother, Lucy, voiced by Jennifer Lopez, now that many of the human adults have been taken to a theme park that the Boov have built called — both appropriately and inappropriately — “Happy Human Town.”
Director Tim Johnson (Antz, Over the Hedge) keeps things moving along at a brisk pace and aims this one primarily (come to think of it, almost exclusively) at young children, keeping the peril from being intense, and including plenty of gentle humor, genial slapstick, and heartfelt emotion.
The screenplay, by Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember, adapted from the children’s novel, The True Meaning of Smekday, by Adam Rex, is no world-beater but manages to work in messages aimed at the young about family and friendship and the fear of not fitting in.
Antsy adults notwithstanding, this one should put smiles on young faces and giggles in young throats.
So we’ll relocate 2½ stars out of 4 for this affably silly and surreal, kid-friendly, culture-clash comedy. For its target audience, Home is also where the heart is.