Score a point against imaginative kiddie fare. A depressingly, if unsurprisingly, wit-free contraption in which invaders of gremlin-sized proportions duke it out with a horde of youngsters in the battle to claim planet Earth, Aliens in the Attic is offensively inconsequential, as if the movie was crafted to serve as nothing more than mildly distracting background noise. Save for a Doris Roberts-starring martial arts battle as inert as it is impromptu, little sticks out in this tediously paint-by-numbers exercise: Dispassionate professions about being true to oneself, slapstick gags aimed squarely at the prepubescent crowd, bloodless parent/child drama, and no-brainer gender parallels between alien and human cultures make up the core of this deceptively “safe” babysitting tool. Bankrupt in virtually all ways, the film is almost impressive in how little it provides to legitimately engage with, as if aspiring to be the tree that falls with no one around to hear it.
While Aliens in the Attic is about as forgettable as they come, the subtle condescension it sports toward its target audience is more than a bit worrisome. Even if kids these days are truly as dumb as these most creatively deprived of movies purport, there’s something rotten about such inanity being so casually ingrained and reinforced. From the numerous screenwriting copouts (the aliens’ mind-control weapon only works on adults, so, inverting a page from the odious Life Is Beautiful, the film decides that no grownups should be allowed to know about them) to the lazy action-adventure choreography (common sense is consistently rejected in slipshod storyboard sequences, often for simplistic dramatic effect), there’s nary a development therein that doesn’t pander whorishly to contrivance and, concurrently, stifle impressionable imaginations in the process. What else can be said of a film in which even the vocal talent of J.K. Simmons is virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the cast?