Don’t Mess with the Kids
by Betty Jo Tucker
Sometimes a cheesy movie makes me happy because it’s just plain fun. Aliens in the Attic probably won’t win any awards — or receive many positiveВ reviews —В but it tickled my funny bone. After watching the humorous shenanigans by youngsters who fight off a groupВ of menacingВ little creatures from outer space, I was in a good mood for the rest of the day.В В And, if aliens ever take over my abode,В it’s the Pearson kids I would call on to take care of them.
On the first day at their summer vacation house, the Pearson cousins discover thatВ tinyВ space aliensВ have set up operations in their attic while preparing for an upcomingВ invasion. These strange-lookingВ beings use a special gadget for human mind control, but it only works on adults, so it’s up to reluctant math braniac Tom (Carter Jenkins), smart-aleck Jake (Austin Butler), twin brothersВ Art and Lee (Henri and Regan Young, respectively), cutie-pie Hannah (Ashley Boettcher) and sexy Bethany (Ashley Tisdale) to put aside their differences and save the day. Bethany’s smarmy boyfriend Ricky (Robert Hoffman) is no longer a teen, which meansВ he’s vulnerable along with the other adults (Kevin Nealon, Gillian Vigman, Andy Richter and Doris Roberts) at the summer house as well as the local sheriff (Tim Meadows) who drops by occasionally.
Responsible for evoking most of the laughter here, Hoffman (Step Up 2 the Streets) shows off his exceptional ability for physical comedy during hilarious sequences when “Ricky” is taken over by the mind-control thingamajig. Hoffman’s dance training certainly must have come in handy for this role. But he’s also quite funny in scenes where his character secretly mocks his girlfriend’s dad (Nealon), makes belittling remarks to her brother (Jenkins), and finally realizes what’s been happening. Almost matching Hoffman in earning laughs is veteran actress Doris Roberts (Grandma’s Boy), especially during a ninja-like fight scene where she displays fantastic moves, thanks to the magic of special effects.
All cast members deliver entertaining performances in this amusing family movie, but I wish Andy Richter, one of my favorite comedians, had received more camera time. His “Uncle Nathan” seems like a throwaway part. And, although the voice talent for the aliens (Thomas HadenВ Church, Josh Peck, Ashley Peldon, J.K. Simmons, and Kari Wahlgren)В works fine, their physical appearances could have been more startling and scary. I did, however, particularly enjoy the E.T.-ish relationship between one of the aliensВ and the youngest Pearson (the adorable Boettcher).
Directed vigorously by John Schultz (The Honeymooners) from an imaginativeВ script by Mark Burton (Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit) and Adam F. Goldberg (Fanboys), Aliens in the Attic offers 86 minutes of refreshing summer fun. The only message? When it comes to space aliens, trust your kids.
(Released by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation and rated “PG” for action violence, some suggestive humor, and language.)
Betty Jo Tucker is a member of the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and the San Diego Film Critics Society (SDFCS). She teaches an online class, вЂњThe Reel Deal: Writing about MoviesвЂќ for the LSS School of Writing and has published three movie-related books including CONFESSIONS OF A MOVIE ADDICT, an amusing memoir about her life at the movies. Betty Jo serves as the editor/lead film critic for ReelTalk Movie Reviews and hosts a weekly radio show, вЂњMovie Addict Headquarters,вЂќ for BlogTalkRadio. She also writes monthly film commentary for the Colorado Senior Beacon. For more information, please go to www.BettyJoTucker.com