Cute aliens: ‘Home’ uses an odd premise for familiar lessons

Jim Parsons and Rihanna voice the main characters of Home.

Two and a half stars

Home Voices of Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Steve Martin. Directed by Tim Johnson. Rated PG. Opens Friday.

Home opens with aliens invading Earth and forcibly relocating the entire human population, which seems like an odd way to begin a family-friendly animated movie. Instead of following human resistance fighters who take on the unwelcome invaders, Home treats the whole thing like a wacky misunderstanding, since the alien Boov are cute and clueless, led by a pompous leader (voiced by Steve Martin) who touts his ingenious strategy of running away from all problems. Since the Boov are being pursued by the dangerous Gorg, they must constantly flee to new planets and inadvertently take them over.

Despite the premise’s potential for satire or social commentary, the main focus of the movie is a familiar mismatched-friends story, as human tween Tip (Rihanna) finds herself teamed up with a misfit Boov named Oh (Jim Parsons). They learn lessons about family and bravery in typically bland kid-movie fashion, in the context of an alien-invasion story that doesn’t make much sense. Parsons’ literal-minded Oh is basically a purple alien version of his character on The Big Bang Theory, where he’s honed the ability to be extremely annoying. Home is only mildly annoying, tolerable enough for children who like funny-colored aliens but forgettable enough that parents should be able to easily ignore it.

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