"Home" for the Holidays (Dreamworks 2017)

This straight-to-Netflix special spins off of the show Home: Adventures with Tip and Oh, itself a spin-off of the movie Home. It's not awful, but neither is it heartwarming or coherent.

The premise is that Tip (who I remember speaking like a girl and not a stylized stereotype in the movie) realizes that this will be Oh's (her alien friend) first Christmas to celebrate. (I guess last Christmas was the invasion?) So she gets excited telling him about all the fun things to do and see.

There are a LOT of songs in this special. Erin liked more of them than I did, although I admit that the wackiness is strong and fun in some of them.

Unfortunately, everything between the songs is thin pretext to get us to the next song. I'll talk about this more in a moment.

Tip takes Oh into town to see the decorations. On the way, they're sidetracked by a bunch of boys who are apparently recurring antagonists. But now they're filming a "celebrity holiday special" in an attempt to get back on Santa's nice list. We'll cut back to their musical numbers throughout for no good reason.

When they get to town, Oh enjoys the spectacle, but then he realizes that there are no other Boov celebrating. To cheer him up, Tip offers to help bring Christmas to the Boov.

They fly up to some sort of floating habitat in Tip's flying car (how much time has passed since the movie? Is she maybe 13 now? Does her mom care that she takes out the flying car?), and Tip lets Oh have the floor. Oh sings to all the other Boov about the wonders of Christmas, but he gets everything tangled, singing about sticking candy canes on people and such. Tip considers correcting him, but holds off because the Boov are having so much fun.

An interrupting song or two later, Tip and Oh's happiness and satisfaction are deflated by the Boov taking Christmas way too far. They are busting into people's homes to destroy gifts, forcefully "decorating" with trash, and more.

Tip and Oh manage to slow and stop one Boov driving a giant garbage-flinging machine, but in the meantime a bunch of Boov ships have brought a "giant string of lights" made of stars, causing gravity to go haywire. Tip and Oh fight about whose fault the whole mess is, and then they are each counseled by one of the specials guest stars: Kelly Clarkson and Ben Schwartz (of Parks and Rec). Each of these folks has sung a song at this point.

Tip and Oh realize that.... you know what? You can probably fill it in from here. It's the same "the holiday is more than stuff" moral we've heard a thousand times. Here it's "Christmas is a feeling."

They sing to the city about this, which calms the Boov down and everything (somehow) goes back to normal.

The problem is that none of this had any emotional weight. The character design and the humor was too slapstick for much emotion to get through. Maybe it would have been more interesting if we'd watched any of the show. Notably, the show is all 11-minute shorts. This really feels like the kind of visual humor (like early Adventure Time) that's suited to short surrealist bits. In researching this, it seems that the series pulled more from the books and is exploring some really interesting topics like aliens having multiple gender structures, but you could easily not notice that in this special.

To sum up: This felt like an attempt to mash up Adventure Time with Nightmare Before Christmas (some of the Boov misunderstandings reminded me of Halloween Town) by way of a parody of a musical Christmas special, without actually understanding fully what made any of those elements work. Some of the songs were well done, but they'll be better out of context. Some of the humor was okay, but I just think this special was too long to sustain the tone without feeling tired.