HOME – Review by Susan Granger

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homeposter160There’s obviously such a thirst for family-friendly animated films that even this lackluster diversion attracts crowds at the multiplex. When their planet is threatened by the dreaded Gorg, the Boovs decide to move to Earth. In preparation for this diversionary tactic, Earthlings are vacuumed up by giant Boov spaceships and relocated to a candy-colored theme park, dubbed “Happy Humantown,” in the Australian desert. But 13 year-old Gratuity Tucci (Rihanna) – a Bahamian immigrant called “Tip” – and her Calico cat were able to avoid capture. Desperate to find her mother, Lucy (Jennifer Lopez), plucky Tip goes looking for her. Read on…

Meanwhile, there’s this bumbling young Boov named “Oh,” as in “Oh, no” or “Ohhhh.” Oh (voiced by Jim Parsons) becomes a fugitive after he inadvertently hit “send all” on a galaxy-wide housewarming party invitation that reveals the terrestrial location of the new Boov habitat.

Tip and Oh ‘meet cute’ when they’re spied by a security camera in the same convenience store. Trapped in a freezer, Oh promises to help Tip. Utilizing his advanced technology, he transforms her mother’s car into a Slushy-powered hovercraft – equipped with Rihanna’s Caribbean-infused music tracks.

Off they go – only to discover that the entire threat was caused by a small Gorg rock mounted on the “shusher” scepter belonging to the Boov’s egotistical leader, Captain Smek (Steve Martin), who stole it.

Based on Adam Rex’s popular children’s book, “The True Meaning of Smekday” (2007), it’s adapted for the screen by Tom J. Astie and Matt Ember (“Epic”) and directed by Tim Johnson (“Antz”).

While Tip is the first black protagonist in a DreamWorks Animation feature, the plot bears an uncanny resemblance to “Lilo & Stitch,” which was filled with Polynesian kitsch.

Jim Parsons (a.k.a. Sheldon Cooper on TV’s “The Big Bang Theory”) and pop singer Rihanna make welcome debuts in voice-over animation, but it’s disconcerting is how much the Boov creatures look like blue-hued Minions with stubby tentacles.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Home” is a familiarly fanciful 5, featuring the most benign aliens ever to invade Earth.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.