Elementary school kids are in for a fun ride with Aliens in the Attic, a family-friendly action romp that is geared to get them riled up and dreaming of their own battle against an alien invasion. For all other audiences, the film is exactly what it is -- a movie made for seven-year-olds. The checklist is as follows: Hits to the groin every 20 minutes? Check. A Jim Carrey-wannabe spaz acting like a clown anytime he's onscreen? Yep, it's got that, too. How about a possessed granny performing kung fu? Uh-huh. And a conceit that allows the kids to play while the parents are away? Oh yeah, the writers figured out a humdinger to explain that one. Indeed, those are cynical cheap shots -- especially for a picture that will provide the goods to its target audience. However, one thing is for sure -- a lot of time and energy was put into what will most likely be a forgotten bomb long after its days in the theatrical sun.
Those who have seen the trailer have pretty much seen the film. For the uninitiated, the movie follows a family vacation where the kids discover that a scouting alien ship has landed on the roof of their rented mansion. The four aliens in question turn out to have a mind-controlling device whose powers only work on grown-ups, so the kids try and keep the adults as far away as possible from the melee going on in the top floors. Defensive measures such as firecrackers, radio-controlled cars, and a potato launcher are used against the fearsome intergalactic foes, one of whom joins the kids in their protecting (and near destroying) of their fancy leased house. Along the way, the young lead, Tom Pearson (Carter Jenkins), realizes that it's okay to be a smart kid after his brain comes in handy while battling two-foot-tall inhuman military morons.
At first glance, some would lump this picture in with other creature features, such as Gremlins, Small Soldiers, Mac and Me, Ghoulies, and the Munchies films -- and they'd be semi-right. In fact, there's a veiled Ghoulies shout-out in the film, though don't expect the same kind of toilet-humor treatment to go along with the visual gag. At the day's end, Aliens in the Attic is what it is -- an action picture filled with ugly CG creatures that the small tikes will enjoy. Certainly one of the biggest complaints is that there are few surprises to this sucker, even when it dares to go Godzilla in the finale. A slew of other criticisms could be laid against the flick, but tearing it down does no more than prove this picture wasn't made for you. This is a cheap slice of entertainment for the little ones, pure and simple. Best file Aliens in the Attic with the first Scooby Doo film -- or better yet, Alvin and the Chipmunks -- and you'll have a fine barometer for how much patience you'd have for it in the end.
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