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'Home' Is a Perfectly Fine Movie to Take the Kids To

But it's nothing special.


Home is an okay movie with its heart in the right place. I liked Home because it so desperately wants to be liked, and that sort of unabashed enthusiasm can be its own kind of charming. But there’s nothing new or particularly interesting about the movie or any reason to see it if you aren’t already taking the kids. If I were ranking it among other recent kids’ movies, it’s about as good as Penguins of Madagascar and not quite as good as the new Spongebob.

Jim Parsons voices Oh, an extraterrestrial so named because the other aliens generally react to his appearance with either a startle or a groan. He and his fellow aliens, the Boov, are looking for a new planet where they'll be safe from the Gorg space invaders. They find Earth and quickly take it for themselves, sending the entire population to live in tidy, well-organized communities dropped into the middle of the Australian outback.

It's not long before Oh meets Gratuity "Tip" Tucci, a New York girl voiced by Rihanna who's trying to steer clear of the invading aliens while looking for her mom (voiced by Jennifer Lopez). If an almost apocalyptic alien invasion and a girl looking for her mom sounds to you like a strange premise for a down-the-middle kids' movie, you're not alone. It should come as no surprise that the book the movie is based on is a little different.

Everything in the movie is played for laughs with an over-the-top silliness that works well with the art style, but is a tonal 180 from the source material. The True Meaning of Smekday is a black-and-white illustrated children's novella that, with its apocalyptic themes and crowds of people fleeing, almost feels like a chapter from World War Z written for kids. It's funny and silly, too, but it's dark around the edges and elicits real emotional reactions.

By contrast, Home just wants to make you laugh and maybe feel warm about the ham-fisted family themes it serves in a bright purple and green palette. Nothing's wrong with that, but a more faithful, slightly scarier adaptation would have been more interesting to see.