home

The reviews are in for DreamWorks Animation’s Home, out in cinemas today, and the critical consensus is that it’s probably not worth leaving home for.

Neil Genzlinger of the New York Times is one of the film’s few top critic defenders, calling it “a charming concoction with positive messages for younger children about conquering fears, understanding outsiders and knowing yourself.”

Few others are as impressed, however, with many put off by a sense of over-familiarity. “Home has the generically antiseptic look and busyness of dozens of other DreamWorks projects,” Michael Phillips writes for the Chicago Tribune, lamenting “the same sorts of grandiose action sequences, the same massive-eyed darlings as protagonists, the same freneticism posing as creative energy.”

Jesse Hassenger says something similar over at the AV Club, citing the predictability of the “incessant and pseudo-adult soundtrack” and the “ultra-hacky dance-party ending”.

Variety’s Peter Debruge insists that the feature does in fact stand out from past DreamWorks fare in the sense that it is “the studio’s least exciting feature yet.” Debruge points out that the film’s strict adherence to formula is “in direct contradiction with its own pro-individuality message”—a message seemingly lifted wholesale from another of director Tim Johnson’s DreamWorks films, Antz.

For her part, Sandie Angulo Chen of the Washington Post points to something surprisingly uncharacteristic of DreamWorks: “…all the pop-culture references have been edited out.” (She says it like it’s a bad thing.)

There has, at least, been a positive reaction to the casting of Rihanna, who also contributes songs to the soundtrack, as the girl protagonist Tip. The Boston Globe’s Tom Rosso praises the singer, in his way, for a “vibrancy we didn’t expect,” and Genevieve Koski at The Dissolve pays tribute to the “unexpected nuance” of the character, who sports a “skin color and natural hairstyle that is rarely seen in the main character of a mainstream kids’ movie.”

Ultimately however, writes Koski, Home “seems intent on being as inoffensive and unmemorable as possible.”

With 82 reviews counted, Home currently has a 46% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

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