Film and TV

Reviews for the Easily Distracted:

Title: Home

Describe This Movie In One Simpsons Quote: "Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos."

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: Three Gorts out of five.

Brief Plot Synopsis: Lone human joins forces with renegade extraterrestrial to resist alien subjugation.

Tagline: "Worlds collide."

Better Tagline: "The animated movie with tentacles it's safe to take your children to."

Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: Earth's population has been relocated to Australia in the wake of their largely bloodless conquest by the alien Boov. A young girl named "Tip" (Rihanna) manages to escape capture, and teams up with a misfit Boov named Oh (Jim Parsons) to find her mother (Jennifer Lopez). Unfortunately, Oh is on the run from his fellow aliens after mistakenly sending a party invite to the Gorg, the mortal enemy of the Boov. That's right, it's a RACE AGAINST TIME.

"Critical" Analysis: I give DreamWorks credit for this much, they've managed to take on of my most dreaded doomsday scenarios (alien invasion) and make it almost pleasant to consider.

Granted, the Boov aren't interested in stripping the Earth of its precious natural resources, enslaving humanity, or destroying the planet to make way for a hyperspace bypass. No, they're simply fleeing the Gorg, who've pursued them across the galaxy because the Boov prefer to flee rather than stand and fight (surely you can see where this is going). They relocate mankind with remarkable ease and little disruption to family units (Tip being the obvious exception) and settle in to their innocuous bureaucratic routine.

It's like being conquered by accountants.

Based on Adam Rex's bestselling The True Meaning of Smekday, Home is, at the risk of invoking Douglas Adams again, mostly harmless. It's pretty and nicely rendered -- the Boov are like mood rings, changing colors with their temperament -- and the only character not suitable for turning into a plushy is the bad guy (and even then ... but no spoilers). Parsons generally gives me the hives (and The Big Bang Theory makes me want to go Hanover Fiste my TV), but his blithe goofiness more or less works here. I'm not as sold on Rihanna, who must have had a codicil in her contract stating she provide a third of the soundtrack, but even then she isn't...completely horrible.

No, the biggest revelation is that Steve Martin (as Boov leader Captain Smek) apparently wasn't stricken by a mysterious humor-killing virus in 1991. Or if he was, the effects must have temporarily worn off, because Home is the funniest the former Wild and Crazy Guy has been in decades, and he's easily responsible for 75 percent of the laughs. Maybe he thought we wouldn't recognize his voice and let his guard down.

As an admitted paranoid, I suppose what got my goat the most was the ease of the Boov takeover. I know we're not exactly the United Federation of Planets, but to let an entire race of pinhead chromatophores swoop in and subjugate humanity without scrambling a single F-15 or launching one SLBM? This is not the America I have come to fear and resent.

But Home is, after all, a kids' movie, and kids should have no problem enjoying THE COLORS, the lite rock soundtrack, and Oh's clueless antics. Never mind when an alien invasion actually does occur (one which will almost certainly be more harrowing and probe-filled), these same kids will be woefully unprepared.

Home is in theaters today. Watch the skies.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar