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Sunday, October 11, 2009


Unmemorable but entertaining enough while you’re caught up in it. (Review by Billy Suter, courtesy of The Mercury)

Unmemorable but entertaining enough while you’re caught up in it, Aliens in the Attic has the feel of a video game for under-10s brought to life on the big screen, being a kids-versus-aliens saga with an unending flow of action and slapstick. Much of its appeal rests with the presence of athletic and likeable Robert Hoffman, last seen as the dancing lead in Step Up 2: The Streets who dishes out much of the physical comedy. He’s cast as Ricky, obnoxious older boyfriend of bratty Bethany (High School Musical’s Ashley Tisdale) – a womaniser whose speech and movements eventually end up in the hands of a device manipulated by little grey aliens.

This happens after four of the toddler-size extraterrestrials crashland on the roof, then invade the attic, of the holiday home of the bickering Pearson family. The aliens’ intention is to annihilate human life and then, after summoning outer-space sidekicks to join them, take over our world.

The first to come across the invaders is burdened teenager Tom Pearson (Carter Jenkins) and his cousin Jake (Austin Robert Butler), who soon discover that a darting device the aliens shoot into people’s necks, allowing complete control with a special device, works only on adults, which explains why only twentysomething Ricky, then later the Pearson grandmother (Doris Roberts), are affected. It’s then that the teens and kids in the house unite, devising a plan to send the adults into town while they set about using everything from rakes to potato-shooting toy guns to combat the ETs, one of which, preferring peace, shows signs of sidling with them.

It becomes very loud and lively, of course, Hoffman providing much of the humour as he bumps, falls, spins on his back and acts the goofball while walking into things while the aliens try to get to grips with manipulating him. Hoffman gets even more outrageous, and gets to be even more fun, when the teens, who don’t particularly like him, get hold of the aliens’ manipulation device and make him do things designed to embarrass him. At one stage he even gets into a flamboyant battle with the darted grandmother who later, oblivious to the martial arts extravaganza she has been put through, announces that her back has never felt so good in years.

The film is by John Schultz, whose directing credits include The Honeymooners and Like Mike. Rating 5/10. – Billy Suter