With animated kiddie product as generically sugary and dim-witted as this-- the directorial debut of Despicable Me storyboard artist Callan Brunker-- parents should prep a cost-benefit analysis including (a) the two-hour price of a babysitter, (b) the toxifying effects of exposing children to consumer waste, and (c) whether they're forced to sit through it, too. "Turn off your brain and hang on," warns Kira Supernova (voiced by Sarah Jessica Parker) as she and her nerdy scientist hubby Gary (Rob Corddry)-- noseless, blue humanoids from a planet bafflingly more Jetsons-futuristic than extraterrestrial—rocket-race to save their son. Their kid, in turn, has foolishly run after his barrel-chested, celeb-astronaut uncle Scorch (Brendan Fraser), captured by a villainous general (William Shatner) on the dangerous "Dark Planet" we call home. We're supposed to wonder, "Will Gary ever overcome his timidity and become an intergalactic hero to his family and dismissive bro?" Between the frequent cribbing of character designs (The Smurfs, Toy Story) and hoary catchphrases (Titanic, The Warriors), to its unfunny, dated references (Simon Cowell? ZZ Top?!) and pointless excuses for 3-D gimmickry (food fights, paddleballs), Escape From Planet Earth makes a compelling case for our disposable culture to finally get wiped out by malevolent aliens.
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