Starring: Carter Jenkins, Austin Butler, Ashley Tisdale
Directed by: John Schultz (“The Honeymooners”)
Written by: Mark Burton (“Madagascar”) and Adam F. Goldberg (“Fanboys”)
If these are the type of film projects the teens of the “High School Musical” franchise are going to get now that they’ve moved on from the series, things are bound to get uglier before they get better.
While Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens might still be bankable (“17 Again” was cliché drivel for Efron and we still have to see what Hudgens can do with her upcoming film “Bandslam”), an actress like Ashley Tisdale might find it a bit more difficult to earn roles much different that the tween-inspired ones she’s been doing for the last 12 years.
Nevertheless, her first attempt at breaking away from her character Sharpay Evans from the “Musical” movies is in the unimaginative family film “Aliens in the Attic.” In the film, Tisdale plays Bethany, one of the Pearson family clan who discovers their vacation lake house has been infiltrated by a small group of hostile aliens packing heat who want to enslave humans.
During their initial battle with the alien species, Bethany’s brother Tom (Carter Jenkins) and his cousins realize they have the upper hand when the electric plugs the aliens are shooting at them don’t have the same mind-control power on kids as they do on adults. Kids, supposedly, are “wired differently” explains one of the knee-high humans.
From here, we watch the entire Pearson family below the age of 18 try to keep the aliens from getting out of the attic and into the house where they can cause major damage especially since all the vulnerable parents (Kevin Nealon and Andy Richter plays dads; Doris Roberts plays the grandma) are downstairs (apparently wearing earplugs since no one ever hears the ruckus on the second and third floors).
Relying on generic-looking computer graphics, kids and aliens battle it out with fireworks and paintball guns for 86 minutes of boredom. Screenwriters Mark Burton (“Madagascar”) and Adam F. Goldberg (“Fanboys”) even fail at bringing a human element into the story by having the youngest of the Pearson children (Ashley Boettcher) befriending the one alien invader (she names him Snugglelumps) who seems to be a pacifist. Overall, it’s one the worst family films of the year.