Thursday, August 13, 2009

ALIENS IN THE ATTIC - Gremlin Attack

ALIENS IN THE ATTIC (fantasy adventure)
Cast: Ashley Tisdale, Robert Hoffman, Kevin Nealon, Tim Meadows, Austin Robert Butler, Doris Roberts, Gillian Vigman, Carter Jenkins, Ashley Boettcher, Henri Young and Regan Young
Director: John Schultz
Time: 86 mins
Rating: * * 1/2 (out of 4)

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? Unless you are under 10 years old, don't expect to be frightened by the aliens in this 'Attic'. They look more like neutered Gremlins - and they are more cute than scary or menacing. As for the movie, it tries to target the 'family' audience but I don't expect any self-respecting teenager would want to be caught watching this 'kiddie flick' - despite the presence of High School Musical hottie Ashley Tisdale.

However, those with young kids may enjoy accompanying their young 'uns - and see them having fun.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? It all starts as a meteor shower rockets across the galaxy. Four glowing pods hiding behind the meteors suddenly turn towards planet Earth and lands in a house in rural Michigan where the Pearson families are on vacation. Soon, the children, led by Tom (Carter Jenkins), must fight off four knee-high extraterrestrials, the advance party of an impending alien invasion.

For some reason, Tom refuses to tell his parents (Kevin Nealon, Gillian Vigman) about the alien attack, making this 'war' a secret kids-versus-ET face-off. This plot contrivance allows the scripters to throw in all sorts of childish gags and stunts. The aliens' most potent (and potentially funny) weapon is a brain-implant dart gun that allows them to control humans with a device that resembles a videogame controller. One of its targets is Ricky (Robert Hoffman), the hapless boyfriend of Bethany (Tisdale), the eldest of the Pearson siblings.

HITS & MISSES: One thing I like about this effort directed by John Schultz is that the movie has no pretence about being anything other than goofy entertainment. The best laughs it can offer is having Hoffman doing puppet stunts while being 'controlled' by one of the kids. And then there is also Doris Roberts (of Everybody Loves Raymond fame) showing off her ninja skills in a mid-air duel.

Jenkins is watchable as the closet geek who learns that being good at maths has its advantages, and Ashley Boettcher (pictured) is likeable as Hannah the requisite cutie-pie who 'converts' one of the aliens. The other adult stars, like Tim Meadows (as the sheriff) and Nealon, have poorly-written supporting roles.

THE BOTTOM-LINE: A see-and-forget flick.


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