Friday, August 7, 2009

When cartoon aliens attack

Not so cute in cuddly

"Aliens in the Attic"
Two stars

By Joe Maniscalco

It ain’t “Shrek” or “Horton Hears a Who,” but if you’re looking for a movie this weekend that’ll entertain your little ones without requiring you or your spouse to stick needles in your eyes, you could do a lot worse than director John Schultz’ “Aliens in the Attic.”

This light and airy tale of a group of kids fighting off a cartoonish alien invasion during a boring family vacation zips along at an amiable pace while offering up enough CGI and slapstick along the way to make the formulaic proceedings tolerable – if not totally engaging.

Carter Jenkins plays Tom – Hollywood’s version of the typical American teenager who fears his brainpower will forever condemn him to the status of nerd if he doesn’t watch out. Tom is so upset about his lot in life that he purposely starts to flunk classes he can easily ace. Then the aliens strike.

Stuck in a boring vacation house with his sister, her boyfriend and his cousins, Tom quickly realizes that when the chips are down and the Martians attack, it really does pay to have something going on between the ears.

Immediately cast in the role of leader, Tom must use his smarts to fend off the dorky but dastardly villains who are bent on recovering a secret device hidden underneath the house and using it to take over the world.

Naturally, since this is a kids’ movie, only the kids on screen are immune to the aliens’ zombie darts – nasty little projectiles capable of reducing grown up “hu-mans” into playable Xbox characters.In one particularly amusing sequence, veteran TV and film character actress Doris Roberts falls under the influence and quickly unleashes a flurry of Matrix-like moves on the obnoxious boyfriend’s head.

Before the bad guys are vanquished, the kids get to devise their own weapons A-Team style and defy gravity. Before you know it, the alien armada is packing it in and heading back to wherever they came from and the credits roll. Pretty painless.

Directed by John Schultz. With Carter Jenkins, Austin Robert Butler, Ashley Tisdale. Runtime 1 hour, 26 minutes. Rated PG.


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