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Lightweight animated adventure in which a cuddly alien (voice of Jim Parsons) joins his conformist kind in a peaceful invasion of Earth during which they exile the planet's human inhabitants to Australia, commandeering the remainder of the orb for themselves. But when the extraterrestrial makes a mistake that endangers his fellow newcomers (their leader voiced by Steve Martin), he goes on the run and joins forces with a preteen girl (voice of Rihanna) who managed to evade compulsory relocation. As the visitor works to forestall the potentially disastrous consequences of his misstep and his wary companion tries to reunite with her displaced mom (voice of Jennifer Lopez), director Tim Johnson's screen version of Adam Rex's novel "The True Meaning of Smekday" charts the ups-and-downs of their friendship while extolling individuality, sociability and courageous risk-taking. The space travelers' fractured version of English provokes a few smiles, but the picture is otherwise merely passable.
Watch out for: Occasional scenes of peril and a bit of mild bathroom humor.
Rated: A-I: general patronage. MPAA: PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015