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'Home' is mildly amusing, and highly commercial
In this image released by DreamWorks Animation, characters Oh, voiced by Jim Parsons, left, and Tip, voiced by Rihanna, appear in a scene from the animated film "Home." - photo by Josh Terry
The long post-Oscar winter is drawing to a close, and as spring approaches, the people at Dreamworks have delivered a brand-new animated film for the whole ...

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In director Tim Johnsons Home, a goofy alien race called the Boov invade the earth, taking over our cities and relocating all the humans to a group of remote planned communities.

Its very embarrassing for us, because aside from looking like purple versions of the Despicable Mes Minions, the Boov are notorious for being the biggest cowards in the galaxy. For years theyve been on the run from the Gorg, a much more imposing and respectable brand of alien invader, and they are hoping that Earth will be their long-term ...

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The story focuses on the unlikely friendship between a pair of outcasts. Oh (voiced by Jim Parsons) is an aggressively enthusiastic Boov who quickly wears out his welcome wherever he goes. Tip (pop star-turned-actress Rihanna) is a young girl separated from her mother, who somehow managed to evade the Boovs relocation effort.

The two join up after Oh gets in trouble for sending the cosmic directions to earth to the Gorg by accident, of course. He was just trying to get out the word for his housewarming party. As a result, Oh is being hunted by his own people, and Tip is being hunted by Ohs people, so they get together and help each other ...

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The misadventures of this odd couple manage to deliver some laughs, some obvious moral lessons and, yes, lots of musical segues scored with Rihanna tracks. At times, Home feels more like an infomercial for a Rihanna album than a kids movie.

Like many movies in this genre, Home tosses out a bizarre mish-mash of jokes designed to appeal to a variety of target audiences. There was plenty of laughing at the press screening for the film, but parents may cringe at Ohs broken English ...

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Home also keeps current tradition by offering a 3-D format, but even in two dimensions, its animation is impressive.

Parsons is given center stage here, yukking it up with the same animated energy he has used on TVs Big Bang Theory for eight seasons. Rihanna mostly gets to play straight man to Parsons antics, and audiences may also recognize the voices of Steve Martin and Matt Jones in supporting ...

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Home definitely has its moments, but it also has its weak points, and the balance leaves the film teetering on that line between worth taking the kids to the theater and wait for the rental. Its one thing to justify a couple of first-run tickets and a tub of popcorn for a night out at the movies. Its another when that figure has to account for the kids, too.

Besides, you can simply download the Rihanna album from iTunes.

Home is rated PG for some action and rude humor.