Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 2015. DreamWorks Animation. Screenplay by Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember, based on the book The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex. Produced by Suzanne Buirgy, Christopher Jenkins, Mireille Soria. Music by Lorne Balfe. Production Design by Kathy Altieri. Film Editing by Nick Fletcher.
A race of gooey purple aliens show up on Earth and take over, needing the planet to avoid their enemies and confident that the silly race of humans inhabiting the place won’t be the least bit put off by their invasion. Placing the earth’s population in concentrated detention areas and taking over existing cities, the aliens have a policy of anti-social conformism and can’t stand that the uniquely friendly Oh (voiced by Jim Parsons) wants to throw shindigs and invite everyone to hang out with him. The visitors are all unilaterally horrified when Oh accidentally sends a party invite to the entire galaxy, meaning that the message is on its way to a race of evil creatures that has been hounding them through space ever since the man in charge (Steve Martin, hilarious) stole their enemies’ leader’s “shushing stone”. Oh has to stop the email before it reaches the bad guys (wi-fi is slow in space), complicating his journey with the appearance of a little human girl (voiced by Rihanna) who was separated from her mother (Jennifer Lopez) during the invasion and needs to find her again. It’s an unlikely friendship as these two fly the girl’s souped-up car across the globe to accomplish two quests, along the way giving the newcomer an education on how inconvenient his race’s presence is to the people they have taken over from. Bubbly, bright animation does a terrific job of making an allegory about the evils of colonialism go down quite smoothly, aided by good voice work and some terrific sight gags, while the story’s gentle conflicts keep it from being too involving but will also make it an easy sell for the younger members of the audience (or at least for their overprotective parents). Something about it doesn’t stick despite how many of its elements work, but it’s a good time and Parsons, trading quite easily on his Big Bang Theory persona, is particularly funny.