The latest computer animation from DreamWorks continues the studio's aggressive and cynical approach to children's entertainment, pummeling viewers with mechanical-looking action sequences (which suggest video game demos), unfunny one-liners, and overly loud pop songs and sound effects. A race of aliens who resemble corporate mascots colonize earth, relocating all humans to a giant suburban community in the Australian desert. Left behind in New York, a young immigrant (given voice by pop singer Rihanna, who also sings most of the songs) befriends a misfit alien who promises to help find her mother. The sentimentality is utterly phony, and the filmmakers lay it on thick. Watching this feels like mainlining Pixy Stix, and it's probably about as good for you. Tim Johnson directed.
By Ben Sachs