Despite the great promise of its title and creative team (from the director of Like Mike! Starring not one, but two SNL alums!), Aliens in the Attic is cheap, shoddy, crass, and depressing fun for the whole family—by which I mean eight-year-old boys. The jokes are pitched firmly at their frame of reference: Dirty socks, mucus, and kicks to the crotch abound. The Pearson family retreats from a carefully unnamed city to an equally unspecific rural American location (actually New Zealand, but who’s checking?). Dad (Kevin Nealon) worries about son Tom’s (Carter Jenkins) declining grades and bad attitude; Tom is intentionally doing badly to shed his nerdy mathlete skin. To defeat those perky Mucinex commercial–looking things in the attic, he’ll need both brawn and mathematic formulas! The most notable other lesson learned is that portable technology doesn’t drive families apart; it actually gives kids valuable key-mashing skills, useful in defending against space invaders. Also noted: not judging people by their appearance, being respectful to your parents, the value of abstinence—as learned by Ashley Tisdale, 23 and already a shrieking harpy, in a creepy subplot where Tom obsesses over keeping her virginal—and, oddly, that enhanced interrogation techniques are unacceptable. Good to teach that young.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 28, 2009