The most accomplished family adventures across cinematic history, are those that tend to find a triumphant balance between comedy and pathos. From Disney classics of old, to the contemporary works of Pixar – the innate ability to both move and entertain the viewer is what makes for such indelible cinema. Dreamworks have often dealt primarily with the latter, carelessly disregarding the former, and their latest endeavour Home continues that trend. A film you’ll enjoy, certainly, but not quite one you’ll remember.
Jim Parsons voices Oh, a member of the Boov species, who are desperately attempting to be rid of their nefarious tormentors, and settle on earth. They come in peace, sort of, meaning no harm and yet destroying everything the humans have built, while shipping them all off and out of the way. However there is still one who remains, the headstrong teenager Tip (Rihanna) who wants to be reunited with her mother. She knows she will need the help of Oh, who in turn could do with some assistance himself, having been outcast from his beings, and now a much wanted fugitive after accidentally revealing the whereabouts of the Boov to their feared adversary.
First and foremost, Home is undoubtedly a sharp and witty piece and cinema with a handful of running jokes that ensure we remain onboard. Steve Martin, who voices Captain Smek, is very much a key part of that, bringing a deft comic touch to proceedings. Parsons also impresses, bringing a sense of empathy to his role, with distinguishable vocals that instantly make Oh an underdog, similarly to the actor’s most noteworthy role of Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory – which allows us the opportunity to root for the character at hand. Though that comes easily, such is the endearingly clumsy and earnest nature of the protagonist, who you simply can’t help but grow to love.
However where this Tim Johnson feature falls short, is within the lack of emotional impact. If it’s not vied for, it’s not an issue, but there is an inclination to be profound and attempt to stir the audience and tug on their heart strings – and yet it’s disengaging in that regard, never quite earning that emotional investment. Nonetheless it’s positive to have a black female in the leading role – which proves to be one of few unique elements in an otherwise hackneyed piece of cinema.