The latest from director John Schultz ("The Honeymooners" remake) is this rather cookie-cutter kiddie comedy, starring Ashley Tisdale in her first effort since appearing in the "High School Musical" series.
The film opens with Stuart (Kevin Nealon) and Nina (Gillian Vigman) taking children Bethany (Ashley Tisdale) and Tom (Carter Jenkins) and little sister Hannah (Ashley Boettcher) away for a getaway at their vacation house in a cottage at a sleepy Michigan town. Joined by Uncle Nathan (Andy Richter), cousins Jake (Austin Butler), Nana Rose (Doris Roberts) and twins Art (Henri Young) and Lee (Regan Young), the group plans on having a family reunion. However, things don't exactly go according to plan.
What initially starts off as "The Great Outdoors" (although nothing can be quite like that Candy/Ackroyd classic) gets merged with a bit of "Men in Black" (John Debney's score under the opening credits sounds an awful lot like some of Danny Elfman's work from "Men in Black") goofiness when a horde of aliens lands on the house and take up residence within the attic (hence the title.) Of course, the kids are well-aware of the threat (while the parents remain oblivious, as parents often do in these sort of films) and try to do what they can to stop the creatures before certain doom.
The actors are a little bland (although Richter, Nealson and Tisdale try their best) and one-note (and the alien creature designs are not exactly imaginative), but the movie does manage to get a few decently funny moments (an enjoyably bizarre kung fu sequence featuring Doris Roberts of "Everybody Loves Raymond") and lines (in a wild situation, one of the kids comments, "This isn't like XBOX, it's real, like Wii!") together. Additionally, the picture manages to zip along at a very brisk pace with a running time of just under 90 minutes.
"Aliens in the Attic" is cotton candy entertainment for kids and has a few moments , but one wonders if the picture would have been a bit more memorable and imaginative in the hands of a different filmmaker.
VIDEO: "Aliens in the Attic" is presented in 1.85:1 (1080p/AVC) by Fox. While the presentation isn't without some minor concerns, this is otherwise a fine effort from the studio. Sharpness and detail aren't exceptional, but remain firmly above-average (although I wasn't crazy about the rather generic creature design of the aliens, the wrinkles of the alien skin looked well-defined), with only the occasional scene looking mildly softer.
No instances of noise or pixelation were noticed during the show, but a few light traces of edge enhancement were seen. Still, the majority of the running time looked clean and smooth.
SOUND: The DTS-HD 5.1 audio presentation delivers a moderately lively effort, with the surrounds kicking in to deliver effects and ambience during the handful of more lively sequences during the film. Audio quaity was fine, with well-recorded dialogue, music and effects.
EXTRAS: Tisdale provides intros to the film and the special features. We also get an alternate ending, deleted scenes, a gag reel, "Behind the Zirkonians" animated short, an interactive featurette, "The Ashley Encounters" featurette, "Lights, Camera, Aliens" featurette, "Kung Fu Grandma" featurette, "Life After Film School" featurette and Brian Anthony music video.
Final Thoughts: "Aliens in the Attic" is cotton candy entertainment for the kids; while it will likely entertain most in the single-digit audience just fine, one wonders what another filmmaker could have done with the concept. The Blu-Ray edition boasts very nice audio/video quality and a decent array of minor supplements. A passable rental for the younger crowd.
The Film C