Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

As our film ‘Aliens in the Attic’ opens, our lead character Tom Jenkins (Carter Jenkins) is hacking into his schools computer to change his poor grades into high ones before his parents Stuart (Kevin Nealon) and Nina (Gillian Vigman) can get on their computer and check their sons grades. Now my problem with this is that Tom is actually a genius and is purposely tanking his grades so that his fellow classmates will think that he’s cool. Now I do hate over-think this because if there was ever a movie that discourages any kind of advanced thought that movie would be ‘Aliens in the Attic’ but I still have to ask why the kid stopped making good grades to make bad grades just so he can hack in to the computer to change the bad grades into good grades? Exactly what kind of genius is this kid? And what kind of school is this, in the suburbs no less, that puts an onus on being stupid? When I was in high school people who made bad grades took a different bus to school and were made fun of. Unless they could run 4.5 forty yard dash, bench press 500 pounds or could slam dunk. Hmmm… I just received a text message from Fox Pictures asking me to cease and desist all thinking activities. I will comply.

Anyway Tom and his family, which also includes his baby sister Hannah (Ashley Boettcher) and older sister Bethany (Ashley Tisdale) are off for a summer vacation. Okay… this just hit me. Tom is changing his grades in July. Why is Tom still in school in July? My apologies Fox Pictures. Meeting Tom’s family at the summer retreat is his Grandma Rose (Doris Roberts), his uncle Nathan (Andy Richter), his hyper aggressive cousin Jake (Austin Butler) and Jake’s videogame addicted younger twin brothers Art and Lee (Henry and Regan Young). As the title suggest there are indeed Aliens in the Attic which Tom encounters while helping his sister’s obnoxious boyfriend Ricky (Robert Hoffman) fix the satellite dish. Considering the options that the lead alien lays out for Tom and Jake, who has joined Tom in the attic, is ‘enslavement or instantaneous death’ we can assume these aliens are not the friendly kind.

Now we have a situation. These aliens are quite adept at mind control with one little quirk in their system being that this get up doesn’t work on under developed brains, i.e. kids. This means that our kids are going to have to, all by their lonesome, stop these aliens planned invasion of the planet earth. These ‘kids’ would also include big sister and ‘high school senior’ Bethany who spends the majority of her screen time in this movie walking around in an itty bitty bikini. At first I was concerned how the filmmakers were exploiting this child, parading her around in such a revealing matter, that is until is was pointed out to me… by myself… that actress Ashley Tisdale hasn’t seen the inside of a high school in almost a decade. Leer on people. So the question is will Tom use his prodigious intelligence to stop this alien menace before they take over our planet or will he just continue to play stupid and finally be considered one of the cool kids in between being an indentured slave? Choices… choices.

What we have here my friends with ‘Aliens in the Attic’ is a completely disposable, inoffensive, incredibly lightweight piece of late summer family entertainment. To be completely honest with you I had no problem with this movie, at all, outside of the fact that I felt just a little bit stupider after walking out of the movie theater. But this certainly isn’t the first movie to accomplish that minor feat. Running at slightly over eighty minutes this isn’t a movie that’s going to take too much of your time and to make sure you don’t get too bored, even considering the films brief running time, director John Schultz wastes very little times in introducing us to the aliens, introducing plenty of chaos and mayhem and forcing Ashley Tisdale to walk around half naked.

Plus, and this is what surprised me about ‘Aliens in the Attic’, there were times that it was genuinely funny. Robert Hoffman as the obnoxious boyfriend is some kind of Jerry Lewis type physical comic genius and every once in a while, in between the painfully predictable plot on wheels, the forced sentimentality and the over bearing message that it can be cool to be smart… you will unearth a clever and amusing moment here and there. I do have to point out that I’m a bit confused about the aliens, at least in the sense that I’m not sure if they were CGI or puppets. If they were CGI then that was some of the most suspect CGI I’ve seen in some while from a major studio backed motion picture. However if they were puppets, then all is forgiven. Somehow we need to get back to puppeteering.

No, ‘Aliens in the Attic’ brings very little to the table that anybody over the age of five hasn’t seen before but considering some of the other rigor mortis inducing children’s entertainment I’ve seen… ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua’ comes to mind… ‘Aliens in Attic’ did have its moments.

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