Once again we visit two tried and true plot devices: Stranger in a Strange Land and The Hero's Journey. This colorful and humorous outing is directed by Tim Johnson ("Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas") with a screenplay written by Tom Astle and Matt Ember ("Epic") based on the novel by Adam Rex.

This animated PG movie from DreamWorks is entertaining; even the title sequence has a good laugh. Of course the adults find this story more predictable than the children; on the other hand adults are amused by many, many bits that go right over the youngsters' heads (e.g., a reference to metric tools).

The voices provided by Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory") as the alien Oh and Rihanna ("Annie" - 2014) as earthling Tip are outstanding and mesh perfectly with the excellent animation that conveys their emotions to a "T." They get able assistance from Steve Martin ("The Big Year") and Jennifer Lopez ("Ice Age"), as voices for the self-centered Captain Smek and Tip's sweet mother Lucy, respectively.

As is the case with a movie like this, I prefer to focus on what a child (and a parent) might take away:
  • The importance of friendship: despite a rocky beginning between two very dissimilar beings, friendship is an essential part of life.
  • Through the eyes of an alien, we see things we view as ordinary: The purring of a cat.... ice cream ("frozen sweetened bovine secretion"). 
  • Remember "Knock-knock" jokes?
  • The irresistibility of rhythm: watch Oh react to music on the radio.
  • Tell-tale colors: Oh turns green when he tells a lie and the children in our screening audience spotted it right away.
  • The longing for family: Oh lost his parents long ago and Tip is trying to find her mother.
  • Oh is always upbeat and sees the best in everything. "This is the best day EVER!" and "This is the best hiding place in the Milky Way!"
  • See how difficult it is to cancel an E-vite once the invitation is sent in error ("Reply All").
The plot became a bit convoluted before the inevitable happy ending, but our screening audience was cheerful and chatty as we exited the theater. When people react like this to a movie, I know they had a good time.
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Here is a sample:
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