Jim Parsons and Rihanna lend their vocal chords to Home (2015), DreamWorks Animation’s mildly entertaining alien adventure comedy. It delivers plenty of humour for kids, but adults may find it trickier to sit through. Driven out of home after home in fear of the Gorg, the Boov set up residence on Earth, packing the humans off to Australia. As the aliens settle into their life on Earth, Oh (Parsons) accidentally invites the whole of the universe – Gorg included – when organising a party. When the Boov catch wind, Oh decides to run before he’s caught, where he quickly crosses paths with Tip (Rihanna), a resourceful young girl who’s outwitted her captures in an attempt to find her mother (Jennifer Lopez).
The worlds apart twosome slowly come together. Delayed from its original release date of last November amid DreamWorks’ financial woes, Home is funny, colourful and fast-paced, even if it doesn’t exactly restore full faith in the troubled studio. It’s no How to Train Your Dragon, and is unlikely to reap enough rewards to spawn sequels like Shrek or Madagascar did. But it’s still harmless fun. The Boov are reminiscent of another alien species – Minions – and their wacky language scores a few laughs. There’s a slapstick nature to much of the scenarios the central duo find themselves in, too, that will have children rolling around the aisles for much of the running time – adults less so. Subsequently, Oh and Tip are both sweet characters with immeasurable heart beneath differing exteriors.
As they spend more and more time together, their differences turn into similarities that bond them to one another. In terms of the vocals, Rihanna comes off better than Parsons, whose speech switches from comical to irritating in record speed. Rihanna, on the other hand, imbues Tip with a welcome vulnerability behind her hardened facade that shows itself more and more as the narrative unravels. As difficult as she had it in Battleship, Rihanna proves herself as a more than capable performer here, perhaps better suited to characters of the more computer generated variety. Like the mild gags and vocal talents of Rihanna – and Lopez, who’s also very good – the animation is constantly bright, maintaining an upbeat tone to the film as typical themes such as friendship and individuality are addressed. Home won’t do much for DreamWorks’ profit margins, but it’s a pleasing enough escape from reality – and that’s just fine.