Ashley Tisdale, Kevin Nealon, Andy Richter, Doris Roberts, Thomas Haden Church (voice)
Mark Burton, Adam F. Goldberg
20th Century Fox
"Aliens in the Attic" is a perfectly functional children's film.
Does that sound like an insult?
"Aliens in the Attic" isn't a bad film. It isn't really a good film, either.
"Aliens in the Attic" is simply your standard issue, paint-by-numbers family film likely to be most successful with smaller children.
Taken for what it is, and nothing more, "Aliens in the Attic" is a reasonably entertaining that most resembles a sort of retro-style, 70's Disney flick in which the parents are largely hapless, the kids are rambunctious and there's fun to be had when cultures collide.
In this case, the cultures colliding are a group of aliens who, once locked in the attic of what looks and feels like a 70's family home complete with an awkward teen (Carter Jenkins), a beautiful and perfect teen girl (Ashley Tisdale, "High School Musical"), her boyfriend (Robert Hoffman, "Step Up 2 The Streets") and a host of other family members including dad (Kevin Nealon), uncle (Andy Richter), grandma (Doris Roberts) and a local cop (Tim Meadows).
Unlike most family films these days, there's little effort in "Aliens in the Attic" to cater to an adult audience while pleasing the kids. "Aliens in the Attic" is definitely just for the kids.
"Aliens in the Attic" does, at least modestly, benefit from current technology and, indeed, the film is an often exhausting and dizzying array of special effects, whacked out aliens and goofball children who, of course, are charged with saving the day given the cluelessness of the adults in charge. It's a pro-kid message that will play well with kids, yet it's inoffensive enough that it's unlikely any child will leave the theatre mouthing off to a parent.
The aliens are uniformly fun and voiced well, most notably Thomas Haden Church's Tazer, Josh Peck's Sparks and Kari Wahlgren's Razor.
Likely destined for a quick trip through theatres followed by a much longer life on home video, "Aliens in the Attic" is an imaginative and energetic film in which screenwriters Mark Burton and Adam F. Goldberg seemingly throw at the screen every childhood fantasy involving throwing, tossing, kicking, fighting, silly games, heroic gestures and "Home Alone" style novelty tricks. All of this will keep young kids giggling with delight, most adults groaning and most older children whispering to mom "Can I go watch Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" again?
However, for family's seeking simple, clean and child-affirming fun, "Aliens in the Attic" is the rare family film these days that doesn't throw in adult humor, an overabundance of action or anything else, for that matter, even remotely offensive.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic