While Ashley Tisdale of of “High School Musical” fame doesn’t have much to do in this bland sci-fi film, she’s undoubtedly the primary audience draw.
The plot actually revolves around teenage science nerd, Tom Pearson (Carter Jenkins), a “mathlete” who deliberately gets bad grades in school in order to be ‘cool.’ When Tom’s on vacation with his family in rural Michigan, he’s dispatched to discover why the dish TV isn’t working properly. That’s how he discovers that the top floor of their rented three-story house has been commandeered by tiny, green, troll-like extraterrestrials. They’re an advance party for an upcoming alien invasion.
Determined to defend Earth and avoid a massacre, Tom launches a children’s crusade that includes his adorable seven year-old sister Hannah (Ashley Boettcher), their smark-aleck cousin Jake (Austin Butler), the videogame-obsessed twins, Art and Lee (Henri and Regan Young) and bikini-clad Bethany (that’s Ashley Tisdale). Meanwhile, Tom’s parents (Kevin Nealon, Gillian Vigman), Nana Rose (Doris Roberts), Uncle Nate (Andy Richter), Bethany’s ‘older’ boyfriend (Robert Hoffman) and the local sheriff (Tim Meadows) are clueless about the planet’s imminent peril. It seems the aliens have developed a mind-controlling dart-gun device but it only works on adults. (Is that wishful thinking, or what?)
Written by Mark Burton (“Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit”) and Adam F. Goldberg (“Fanboys”) and directed by John Schultz (“Like Mike,” “The Honeymooners”), it’s a tepid, teeny-bopper adventure that toys with the theme of feeling emotionally alienated, while the aggressive aliens (voiced by J.K. Simmons, Thomas Hayden Church, Kari Wahlgren, Josh Peck) bear a not-so-coincidental resemblance to Joe Dante’s critters in “Gremlins” (1984). Predictably, the most amusing moments are those engendered by the special effects of Rhythm & Hues Studios, particularly when Doris Roberts, best known for “Everybody Loves Raymond,” becomes a martial-arts master and actor/dancer Robert Hoffman reacts to the aliens’ mind-control. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Aliens in the Attic” is a cheesy 4. It’s a kids-to-the-rescue adventure that should soar in popularity when it’s released on DVD.