Cert: U / 94 mins / Dir. Tim Johnson / Trailer
Like many cinema-goers of my generation, I have a warm, nostalgic love for Steve Martin. But hey, even I'm realistic enough to know that they can't all be Cheaper By The Dozen 2. Or The Pink Panther 2. Or Father Of The Bride 2…
Glib comments aside, Home nonetheless relies on the stunt-casting of Martin (in a supporting-role, to be fair), Jim Parsons, Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez to paper over the not-inconsiderable cracks in the storytelling. The film's prologue shows the entire population of Earth being pseudo-benevolently relocated to Australia while a race of aliens (The Boov™) inhabits the planet, and the story-proper begins like I Am Legend for the under-5s, with young protagonist Tip being the only human left in her city, sneaking around with her pet and trying to avoid aliens whilst looking for her mother. Oh, don't worry, the U-certificate and lack of narrative-depth mean that the younger members of the audience won't be distressed at all.
Now despite my moaning, there's very little to actively dislike in Home, but there's even less to like, somehow. The gorgeous animation just about excuses the blandly-designed characters, but the voice-work and poor characterisation have no such crutch to rely on (lead alien, 'Oh', is basically Jar-Jar Binks. Really). The most interesting thing about the film is the list of ways in which it doesn't quite work. The scattergun approach to the plot makes the film feel like a second-draft, and the slapstick gags (of which there are many) just aren't particularly funny. The film managed to keep the squawking miniature humans in the audience quiet, so it's certainly doing something right. Unfortunately, that silence was maintained throughout most of the jokes, too.
To add insult to injury, the whole movie is soundtracked with tepid R&B*1 throughout, which is a bit like receiving a half-finished present wrapped in beige wallpaper. I think the marketing phrase "From the creators of The Croods" is as much of a warning as an endorsement, sadly.
Amiable and inoffensive as it is, Home lacks the spark to capture the imagination even of its target audience. The film may have been dropped into the graveyard slot between Christmas and Easter but Dreamworks really need to raise their game. Any animated movie which isn't a hit in this day and age counts as a miss…
You can safely rent this, or wait until you see it for £3 in Asda. Which will probably be before this time next year.
Well with Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez on-board, it's difficult to say. And Steve Martin? …STEVE MARTIN?
I didn't hear one.
Steve Martin starred in 1999's Bowfinger; a film which also boasted among its cast a Mr Terence Stamp, aka Chancellor Finis Valorum from The Phantom Menace.
*1 And when I say "R&B", I'm not referring to Stevie Ray Vaughan et al, but that godawful bland elevator-music they have these days which you hear when you're walking past New Look. It pains no-one more than it does me to refer to this as "R&B", but apparently that's what someone's decided to call it. God, I'm old.
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.