UK Release Date: 20th March 2015
Runtime: 94 minutes
Director: Tim Johnson
Writer: Tom J Astle, Matt Ember
Starring: Rihanna, Jim Parsons, Steve Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Matt Jones
Synopsis: When his race invades Earth, a hapless, but friendly, alien becomes a wanted fugitive and finds himself on the run in a flying car with a feisty human girl and her lazy pet cat.
DreamWorks has played second fiddle to Pixar in the animated film studio league table seemingly forever. However, with the continued success of the How to Train Your Dragon franchise and a handful of slightly iffy Pixar releases since Toy Story 3, the crown may well be up for grabs. In an attempt to capitalise, DreamWorks has turned to The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons in alien invasion film Home.
Oh (Parsons) is the village idiot of the Boov – an alien tribe. Under the guidance of Captain Smek (Steve Martin), the Boov invade the Earth after running from their longtime enemies the Gorg. They relocate humanity to their own corner of the globe, but Tip (Rihanna) is left behind, separated from her mother (Jennifer Lopez). When a huge mistake turns Oh into a fugitive, the two cross paths.
There’s something incredibly bizarre about the visual style of Home. Every scene seems to have been imbued with slightly too much colour, so there’s a slightly headache-inducing feel to the early stages. However, the Boov are beautifully realised as characters – goofy, funny and often adorable. They slot perfectly into the technicolour world of director Tim Johnson’s planet Earth.
| "I do not fit in. I fit out."
Jim Parsons gives an uneven vocal performance as central character Oh – so named because of the exasperation of those who meet him. He is hamstrung by bizarre broken English, which produces equal parts adorable misnomers and irritating incoherence. The character is essentially Parsons playing his iconic sitcom nerd, just with purple skin instead of superhero t-shirts.
Alongside Parsons is the terrific Steve Martin as Captain Smek, who livens up Home every time he appears on screen. The same cannot be said for Rihanna, who plods through her awkward performance with remarkably unnatural delivery. Her work is often punctuated by renditions of her own songs on the stereo – a device that never fails to be jarring.
Home, in common with 2013 DreamWorks effort The Croods, manages to bring forth a surprising amount of heart in its third act. Despite no noticeable emotional groundwork being done throughout the film, the connection between Tip and Oh can really be felt as the final machinations of the plot whir into motion. It’s not the emotional gut punch of Pixar’s best work, but it’s a decent right hook.
| "My hands are in the air like I just do not care."
There’s just about enough to enjoy in Home, thanks mostly due to the sterling work done by Parsons and Martin. They get all of the film’s best lines, mostly drawn out from the excellent central conceit of Adam Rex’s original story, which is nicely realised by the visual style. It’s an uneven film, bolstered by a surprise wave of emotion in the final third.
Pop or Poop?
Surprisingly emotional and often funny, Home is a film that rises above some odd creative choices to land as a decent Easter movie.
Jim Parsons makes the most of his oddly written role, as Rihanna stumbles in a performance that mostly seems a trade-off for constant promotion of her musical career.
It’s saved in the final act by some real emotional hard work, but it works by the skin of its teeth.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.