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“Home” not just for kids

“Let’s go see that new movie with the cute alien!” my girlfriend said as I sighed internally. Animated films are typically not my cup of tea, and out of all the action-packed blockbusters out at the time like “Kingsman” and “Furious 7,” she had to choose the Sheldon Cooper alien flick. However, in every relationship it is important to strive to make the other person happy, so we went to see the cute alien movie…and I was pleasantly surprised by DreamWorks’ “Home.”

Jim Parsons stars as Oh, a whimsical, accident-prone alien part of the race known as the Boov. The movie opens with narration from Oh explaining whom the Boov are, how their society works and their current predicament. On the run from the menacing Gorg, the Boov discover and invade the Earth in a friendly fashion, deeming it a suitable place to seek refuge. After transferring the human population to a remote location on the planet, the Boov effortlessly occupy the cities of Earth and add a personal touch to the established human society.

Shortly after their arrival, Oh decides to host a party for the other Boov in his apartment. When no one shows up, Oh tries to convince Kyle (Matt Jones), a Boov cop who Oh claims is his best friend, to come to the party. Rather than sending a single invite to Kyle however, he accidentally sends a mass invite to every species in the galaxy, including the Gorg. Already not being liked by his kind for his odd and eccentric nature, this mistake results in Oh becoming a fugitive.

While all this is happening, a young human girl named Tip (Rihanna) is driving through the city with her cat Pig after being separated from her mother during the invasion. By chance, Tip and Pig cross paths with Oh as he is fleeing the Boov authorities. Tip has a burning hatred for the Boov because of the invasion, and this is exhibited in her encounter with Oh. However, after realizing that Oh can help reunite her with her mother, Tip reluctantly allows him to travel with her and Pig.

The chemistry between Jim Parsons and Rihanna is the driving force behind the story. Oh is adorable. Parsons and the animators do a great job in conveying the positive attitude that characterizes Oh while also subtly showing the underlying sadness that he feels from being an outcast. The gradual shift in Tip’s demeanor towards Oh and the friendship that develops between them is also fun to watch. Steve Martin, Jennifer Lopez and Matt Jones also do well in their supporting roles.

While the plot is not quite as jumbled as expected, the writing is still the weakest aspect of the film. Oh’s narration in the opening minutes throws the audience right into the world of the Boov and the Gorg in an approach that feels slightly rushed and forced. In addition to this, the Boov speak in a broken form of English not alluded to in Oh’s monologue at the beginning, which made the first several minutes of the movie puzzling for me. Once you're settled into the film however, you will begin to smile, laugh and possibly cry at the comical, yet moving story unfolding on screen.

I have never been a fan of the 3D gimmick. Today it is overused, not used to its full potential and expensive. However, the cinematography in this movie stood out to me particularly because of the way the 3D was utilized in the opening thirty minutes of the film.

There is one shot in particular in which the camera weaves in and out of various rooms and a ventilation shaft in a house. This is neat to watch in and of itself, but the 3D feature makes the viewer actually feel like he or she is in the room, flying amidst the clutter and the small corridors in the ventilation shaft.

Thanks to a star-studded cast, a fairly cohesive script and effective visuals, “Home” is a funny, warm and heart-felt film that will appeal to audiences of all ages. A couple of takeaway points from the experience: never judge a book by its cover, and guys don’t be hesitant to let the lady choose the movie every once and a while, she just might surprise you.