Shake your Boov thing...
Candy-coloured and cute as a bug, this amiable kid-tickling sci-fi toon about an odd-couple quest dares to boldly go where... just about everyone’s already been. When friendless, accident-prone alien Oh (Jim ‘Bazinga’ Parsons) teams up reluctantly with Rihanna’s feisty human Tip, we’re not going anywhere that Lilo And Stitch or Shrek or, most recently, Mr Peabody And Sherman haven’t already taken us. Except that usually they get there faster.
Setting up the elaborate and cuddly Earth invasion by the high-tech but cowardly Boov species definitely makes this sight-gag-sprinkled tale a slow starter. But once Oh accidentally betrays their location to the Boov’s deadly enemies, the Gorg, his fugitive mission with Tip bombs along through swooping jeopardy, including wrecking Paris with a topsy-turvy Eiffel Tower, like a junior Inception.
Comedy here is strictly age-appropriate – the Boov resemble intergalactic Minions, so there’s no scary Mars Needs Moms stuff. Adults will also appreciate the movie’s sly digs at everything from invasion tactics (“But the Boov liberate and protect!”) to Earth’s rampant consumerism. Nonetheless, the life lessons about misfits making good, trying against all odds and how family comes first rain down like a meteor shower.
Director Tim Johnson (Over The Hedge) delivers high-quality, imaginative visuals (check out the slushie-powered flying car with burrito torpedoes) and piles on pastel cuteness, with peppy Rihanna tunes for the tweens. RiRi proves herself a worthy voice-acting talent to boot, giving Tip an engaging mix of vulnerability and moxie, and holds her own against Parson’s perkily eccentric Oh, who comes complete with his own Jar-Jar Binks-style Google-translate English: “Among Boov, I fit out.”
Steve Martin also has a lot of sly fun, if not a lot of screen time, as the Boov’s vain coward-in-chief Captain Smek, a notable plus for adults who need more than 3D hijinks and child-friendly yucks.