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HOME: 3 STARS. “contains good moral lessons wrapped up in a shiny package.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 3.33.57 PM“Home,” is an alien invasion movie for kids. Imagine a cute “War of the Worlds” with messages about courage and the meaning of family and you get the idea.

Oh (voice of Jim Parsons) is a Boov, an alien from a skittish race of ETs who flee at the slightest sign of trouble. Constantly on the run from their mortal enemies, this time their fearful leader Captain Smek (voice of Steve Martin) has found them refuge on Earth, moving the planet’s inhabitants to an interment camp called Happy Human Town to make room for the Boov. Oh isn’t aware of the camp. “Boov do not steal and abduct,” he says naively, “we liberate and befriend.”

Tip” Tucci (voice of Rihanna) is a teenager who managed to avoid the Boov, but is now in search of her mother (voice of Jennifer Lopez). When Oh accidentally invites the entire universe—including the Boov’s enemies—to his housewarming, he flees the angry aliens, running into Tip. The odd couple become friends and soon Oh is helping Tip find her mother while Tip teaches Oh about bravery and the importance of family.

You’d have to be particularly grim faced to deny “Home’s” cute factor. The audience I saw it with seemed to have their collective fingers permanently poised on the “Ahhhh” button but cute doesn’t mean it’s a great film. It makes the most of its modest charms, seeming content to pitch the movie at an audience young enough to not be aware of many of the clichés on display. I won’t list them all here, but suffice to say that five minutes in you know this is the kind of kid’s flick that will end with some kind of dance number.

On the plus side there is action mild enough for the young ones—although they do mostly destroy Paris, which might upset Parisian tots—with low jeopardy and nothing that should inspire nightmares.

Parsons probably has the most cartoon friendly voice on television today and he uses it to good effect as the gullible extra-terrestrial. He speaks in alien doubletalk, a kind of Yoda speak mixed with the “I Can Has Cheezburger?” meme. “I do not fit in,” he says, “I fit out.”

“Home” contains good moral lessons wrapped up in a shiny package with giggles for the kids and even a laugh or two for parents who will have top accompany the little ones.

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