What makes someplace a home?
From the perspective of the little six-legged space aliens called the Boov, that’s a difficult question to answer. They seem to be eternally on the run—from planet to planet and solar system to solar system—in constant dread of their mortal enemy, the Gorg. So, finding a place to settle down isn’t easy. As their beloved leader, Captain Smek, is so fond of saying, “It’s never too late … to run away.”
The one thing that these squishy multicolored minions have in their favor, however, is some pretty cool, high-powered, planet-clearing technology. If they do happen to come upon a potential new home world while zipping to and fro, why, they can clear it out in a New Boov Minute.
Take this planet they just discovered called “Earth.” It’s something of a fixer-upper, but it’ll work. All they have to do is levitate and relocate the backward and simple creatures that currently populate the place: bipedal thingamajigs called “humans.”
And just to show you how benevolent and thoughtful the Boov are, they even build these strange savages a new place to live. It’s a community filled with merry-go-rounds and free cotton candy. They call it Happy Human Town. Granted, packing 7 billion sweaty natives into what used to be Australia is kind of tight but, hey, the Boov’ll throw in free ice cream, too.
Uh-oh. There’s one lone human who escaped the relocation effort. She’s a rebellious teen named Gratuity Tucci (Tip for short). Like the Boov, she’s starting to wonder about the meaning of home, too. Squirreled away in her apartment building while the aliens were clearing out the city, she got passed over. The comforts of home are all around her, but with her mom gone, home just isn’t home anymore.
Even as she prepares to set out in search of her mom, though, Tip isn’t quite sure how to proceed. And then she stumbles upon a particular Boov who just might help. He’s something of an outcast misfit, just like her. He’s known as Oh, because whenever he stumbles and bumbles his way onto the scene, the other Boov can’t help but groan, “Ohhhh.”
So Oh’s on the run, just like Tip. He made the biggest mistake of his life recently, accidently sending out an Evite for his house-warming party—to the entire universe. Gulp. If the Gorg decide to RSVP, well, raising the roof might take on a whole new meaning.
But all is not lost quite yet. Perhaps together this unlikely duo might be able to set things right. If they can learn to help each other and maybe even like each other, then they have a shot.
The little Boov Oh is pretty typical of his kind, putting survival over everything else—including relationships and commitments. In fact, Oh makes mention of the Boov’s core belief that if the probability of an endeavor’s success is less than 50%, one should always give up. But through Tip’s consistent sacrifice and loyalty he comes to understand that living up to your promises is essential, and that taking chances to help those you care about—even when the odds are against you—is often necessary.
Oh also realizes that Captain Smek’s low assessment of mankind was a lie. “Humans are not simple and backward,” he reports as he apologizes to Tip for his past choices. We find out that the Boov are hatched and don’t have families. “No wonder you take things and don’t care about others,” Tip reasons. She makes it very clear that “you don’t leave family!” And another character’s dogged determination points to the value of family as well.
When a Boov stumbles into Tip’s homemade trap, he’s hit with dirty laundry, makeup and glitter—leaving him covered in pink and wearing a sparkly bra on his head.
Captain Smek threatens to have Oh “erased.” Gorg ships fire at Oh and Tip and some terrorized Boov. And the baddies begin to crumble our planet’s surface with gigantic earthmovers. Oh steps forward and it looks like he gets squashed by one of those machines. (He doesn’t really.) In the course of running from pursuers, Oh and Tip cause all manner of slapstick destruction, including smashing vehicles and buildings. Smek regularly bonks Oh and others on the head with his staff that he calls the “shusher.”
Name-calling includes Tip labeling Oh a “lying fart face.”
Potty humor gags range from levitated commodes to Oh biting into a blue urinal tablet (offscreen), brushing his teeth with a toilet brush and musing about the difference between “going” number one, number two or number three. Tip and Oh talk about taking a “pee break” while traveling and about Oh’s “Boov butt.”
Captain Smek steals something valuable from the Gorg. Oh lies on a number of occasions—moments that are very clear to Tip and the audience because the Boov turn green when they fib.
Early on, the Boov blunderer Oh accurately describes his fellows as the “best species ever … at running away.” So it would make sense, then, that families should start running away from this animated alien flick, right?
Well, maybe not so fast.
Sure, the movie’s a tad derivative. It’s packed with enough toilet bowl giggles to make even an 8-year-old boy roll his eyes. And if you find actor Jim Parson’s TV role on The Big Bang Theory just the least bit irritating, you’re gonna quickly tire of his little English-mangling alien guy here.
But Home has its bubble-eyed sweet side. In the midst of fast-paced antics and pratfalls, tykes will find some solid encouragement to look beneath the surface and seek out the heart and unique qualities of the “misfits” around them. They’ll also find themselves thinking that sometimes a little extra bravery is required if you want to do right by those you love. And if Mom or Dad want to bring it up, there’s even a subtle statement here about the potentially isolating nature of social media—especially when compared to the joy of really plugging in with family and friends.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.