Aliens In The Attic
Review by Cassam Looch
THE kids have had a pretty rough ride recently. Monsters vs Aliens and Coraline were both great, but on the live-action front it’s been a while since anything has captured the imagination. Now this isn’t THAT film, but it’s as good as we’ve seen for a while…
Stuart Pearson (Kevin Nealon) and his wife Nina (Gillian Vigman) head a family that includes cute seven-year-old Hannah (Ashley Boettcher); 15-year-old Tom (Carter Jenkins), a techno-geek whose grades have gone south; and big sister Bethany (Ashley Tisdale), who’s just returned from a secret outing with boyfriend Ricky Dillman (Robert Hoffman).
The family head off on a holiday meeting up with a myriad of cousins and relatives including frail grandmother Rose (Roberts)… but there are also some unwelcome guests. You’ve guessed it, little green men (and one little green woman) hiding out in the attic, and it’s up to the kids to save the day.
The physical comedy on display (especially from Hoffman as the slimey older boyfriend) is surprisingly good, an alien gadget means that his movements can be controlled by the bad guys, and the kids as well. It’s a great idea and has a superb resolution when the tech savvy twins take control of Nana Rose for one of the most bizarre moments in any recent film.
The most familiar face to most will be Tisdale, who starred in the High School Musical franchise and plays a similar character here. She does have comedic timing to spare but to be honest is slightly wasted on the sidelines as others get the lionshare of the action.
It’s not that they are bad, but they all end up feeling very similar (making it more of a boys’ own adventure than it should have been).
Despite initial reservations, the animation of the aliens actually turns out to be quite good. The filmmakers have clearly gone for a ‘cartoon’ feel to them, and although that makes it rather odd in certain scenes, it does also allow for greater emotion to be shown on the faces of the invaders.
Indeed, they do not suffer from the problem of the young cast, they are instantly differentiated both in appearance and great voice acting from the likes of Thomas Haden Church.
Unfortunately, the film fails to deliver a satisfying ending and tries to hammer home the wholesome family message towards the climax, but this is a forgivable mistake. In all other regards, this is a genuinely likable and inoffensive kids flick which will entertain all viewers.
Running time: 86mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: February 1, 2010