Irksome animation featuring the voices of Jim Parsons and Jennifer Lopez
The DreamWorks Animation brand has recently delivered some notable misses (Rise of the Guardians, Mr Peabody & Sherman) alongside its hits and Home is a painful example of a studio going once-too-often to a well that’s running rather dry. Director Tim Johnson’s film is stunted by a confusing narrative, poorly applied star voice-overs and an overbearing enthusiasm for flogging the music of Rihanna to a pre-school audience.
The problems start with the concept: The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons lends his whiniest voice to the character of Oh, part of an alien race called the Boov who closely resemble Despicable Me’s rotund minions. The conflict-averse Boov have colonised Earth, decanting the human race to amusement parks in Australia, but a carelessly sent email from Oh alerts the Gorg, enemies of the Boov, to their new habitat. While in hiding from his own race, Oh teams up with Tip (Rihanna), a little girl who has become separated from her mother Lucy (Jennifer Lopez) during the colonisation process. Together Oh and Tip set out on an airborne car journey to Paris in the hope of both finding Tip’s mother and thwarting a Gorg invasion.
It’s hard to know or care whether Oh and Tip’s journey is easy or difficult as the rules of the invaded earth are hard to unscramble and presumably clearer in the source novel, Adam Rex’s 'The True Meaning of Smekday'. With each uninteresting obstacle in their path overcome with ease and Rihanna caterwauling on the soundtrack at every possible juncture, Home feels less like quirky, characterful entertainment than a cash-grab. And Oh’s irritating habit of using the kind of twee baby-talk that made Jar Jar Binks so annoying will grate with parents. Home’s infantilism is a regressive step for DreamWorks, offering a sour rather than sweet experience for audiences.
General release from Fri 20 Mar.