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DreamWorks provides an animated rollercoaster ride for very young children in which cuddly aliens take over the world.
 
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Is there really room for yet another cartoon about cuddly aliens and an invasion of our planet? Apparently so. This DreamWorks addition is adapted from Adam Rex's children's book The True Meaning of Smekday (2007) and is a rollercoaster ride aimed at very young children. Any wit is of the crash-bang-wallop variety, while the soundtrack is crammed with funny sound effects and pop songs from the likes of J.Lo, Charli XCX, Kiesza and Rihanna. Rihanna also provides the voice of the feisty heroine, a thirteen-year-old from Barbados called Gratuity Tucci, or ‘Tip’ to her friends. She is a beguiling presence and the only human left after the rest of the population has been ‘relocated’ by a technically superior alien race called the Boov.

 

Less prepossessing is the extraterrestrial ‘Oh’ (voiced by Jim Parsons), an irritating, five-legged invention that is a cross between a purple toad and a Minion. ‘Oh’ actually changes colour all the time – red for anger, green for duplicity – but is pretty much purple at rest. ‘Oh,’ unlike his fellow interlopers, is already halfway human in that he is prone to making mistakes and inadvertently presses the ‘send all’ button on an email invitation to his house-warming party, thus alerting the dreaded Boov enemy - the Gorg - to the Boov’s new terrestrial hideaway. Silly ‘Oh’.

 

In between the pratfalls and lightly scatological humour are a slew of messages, such as there’s no place like home, it’s important to be oneself, one should face one’s enemy and so on. At times it feels like a sermon delivered by a very colourful pneumatic drill. P.S. In the original book, ‘Oh’ is called J.Lo, so the actress-singer of the same name has been roped in to supply the voice Tip’s mother. Sweet.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Voices of:  Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Steve Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Matt Jones.

 

Dir Tim Johnson, Pro Mireille Soria, Chris Jenkins and Suzanne Buirgy, Screenplay Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember, Pro Des Kathy Altieri, Ed Nick Fletcher, Music Lorne Balfe and Stargate.

 

DreamWorks Animation-20th Century Fox.

93 mins. USA. 2015. Rel: 20 March 2015. Cert. U.