Aliens” of a family friendly kind
“Aliens in the Attic” is a harmless, occasionally very funny, pretty much family-friendly action comedy in the vein of recent fare (and much better executed) “Zathura” and “Sky High.” What it lacks in originality and creativity it makes up for with action and a talented cast that breathes life into its thinly drawn characters.
An old favorite episode of “The Twilight Zone” had a similar premise, where aliens landed their spaceship in a rural country farm house and an old woman was attacked by laser-shooting miniature robots. (In the episode’s final moments we learn the spacecraft was sent by the Air Force.!)
Here, two families converge in an upscale lakeside home in the Midwest for a family reunion. The parents may be clueless and a little dense, but for once in a film aimed at kids, the parents aren’t the butt of the jokes.
In fact, because one of the primary weapons used by the pesky, knee-high aliens who arrive after a meteor shower only harms adults, the kids must protect the parents without them knowing what’s up. It’s a nice ploy that allows the story to focus on the kids, most of them teenagers, coming up with inventive ways to defeat the smart alecky invaders who spend half their time fighting with each other.
The adults include Kevin Nealon, Andy Richter, and Doris Roberts, while most of the kids are newcomers save Disney alum Ashley Tisdale. The most notable of the teenagers is Robert Hoffman (Tisdale’s bullying boyfriend), whose Jim Carrey-esque physical humor is exploited when he becomes the victim of a remote mind-control device.
While the CGI effects are not pioneering, there are plenty of fun surprises including a gravity-suspending grenade that offers some well-earned laughs.
There’s no compelling reason to rush to see “Aliens in the Attic,” but on a hot summer day this is the kind of diversion parents can send their kids to without worrying. Or they could even go along and not be insulted by the content or lowbrow humor. (Not a fart joke to be had!).
Rated PG for action violence, some suggestive humor and language.