'Home': What the Critics Are Saying
Jim Parsons and Rihanna lend their voices to DreamWorks Animation's latest about an exiled alien and an adventurous young girl on the run.
In Home, DreamWorks Animation's latest, an optimistic yet inept alien, voiced by Jim Parsons, pairs up with an adventurous young girl named Tip (Rihanna). The alien is on the run from his own race — the Boov — while the girl is on a quest of her own to find her mother (Jennifer Lopez).
The animated feature, based on the children's book The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex, is directed by How to Train Your Dragon producer Tim Johnson and also features the voice talent of Steve Martin.
The film is slated to compete with Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart's R-rated comedy Get Hard for the top spot at the box office this weekend. While the two films are aimed at entirely different audiences, they are both expected to earn somewhere in the mid-$30 million range.
Read what top critics are saying about Home:
The Hollywood Reporter's Michael Rechtshaffen writes: “There may be no place like home, but there are a lot of places like Home, an animated adventure about the unlikely friendship between a lonely girl and an alien misfit that can’t help but feel familiar. Revisiting aspects of a number of movies that have preceded it, starting with Lilo & Stitch, the film does manage to distinguish itself with some inspired voice casting . . . who both manage to impress in their animation debuts.” Director Johnson keeps "the action humming along and the amusing bits reasonably entertaining, but [he] can’t vanquish the prevailing feeling of déjà vu — and that the Boov are merely Minions of a different hue."
It is refreshing "to see animated characters of color other than purple, blue or green,” and “as Tip, Rihanna shares her screen character’s Barbadian background, not to mention an empowering, can-do spirit that should please young female viewers. ... Parsons “puts his very unique spin on line delivery, even if the written Earth-speak resembles Starfire’s twisted take on the English language on Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans Go!”
The Guardian's Mark Kermode gives the film two out of five stars and states the “CG visuals are bright and shiny and the pace endlessly frenetic, but it’s all as emptily overproduced as Rihanna’s characterless pop soundtrack contributions.” Parsons' Oh is a "variation on [The Big Bang Theory’s] Sheldon (neither understand human emotions)" but "Martin has fun as the pompous Captain Smek," though the film "remains little more than colorfully inoffensive."
USA Today's Claudia Puig says Home is “an inoffensive, sci-fi comedy hodgepodge that showcases outsiders trying to fit in and a focus on bravery and friendship.” The “key characters are admirably diverse, but the fast-paced tale is thoroughly predictable.” Rihanna and Parsons "make a fresh duo vocally. It's too bad the material they're given is fairly stale. The few laughs come courtesy of Martin's smug supreme leader." The film is a “3-D animated adventure that feels frenetic, yet is unexciting and rarely funny, with at least five bathroom-related jokes" that "could have fashioned a more original story, dug deeper into a theme of cultural understanding and jettisoned the toilet humor."
New York Daily News' Stephen Witty calls it "soft as a plush toy." The plot “leaves too much room — which gets padded with an hour of bathroom jokes and Rihanna tunes.” The "singer is empty as she provides the voice of the little girl" and Martin is "clearly filling in for Robin Williams — and failing." Parson is the "sole bright spot" in a movie that "never takes off."
The Washington Post's Sandie Angulo Chen says the film “is essentially a road-trip buddy comedy about a little girl looking for her mom and a lonely alien looking for a friend.” Rihanna “holds, unsurprisingly, the biggest appeal of the film, not only contributing her cultural background and voice acting to the project, but also her music.” Adult audiences "won’t find the Boov as lovable as the Minions from Despicable Me” and fans of the book will be “disappointed that all the pop-culture references have been edited out of the screenplay.” Go “for RiRi’s performance, then buy your kid the book. It’s far better and funnier than the movie.