Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Aliens in the Attic

I mentioned a couple of times that Jess and I were excited for Aliens in the Attic, La Tizz's first post-HSM3 cinematic offering. Excitement levels skyrocketed when we found out Josh Peck, Jess's Inappropriately Young TV Crush, was one of the voice actors. So, while we didn't quite make it opening day, we did catch it last weekend. Here's the rundown: Math-and-science nerd Tom Pearson (Carter Jenkins) is none too happy about spending his summer vacation with his family, particularly his bully of a cousin (Austin Butler), his perfect older sister (La Tizz), and her jerk of a boyfriend (Robert Hoffman), but the summer takes a turn for the even worse when the kids discover that a scouting expedition for an alien invasion has landed on their roof.

So how was the movie? Let's go to the points system!

Physical Comedy: The repeated guy-gets-hit-in-the-nuts gags were overdone (did you know aliens have testicles? you do now!), but Robert Hoffman's performance as the sleezy boyfriend under alien mindcontrol was amazing. And Tizz fell in a lake! We love when she does that! +10

The moral: Math is cool! It's good to be smart! Don't hide who you are! +5

Poor execution of the moral: No one stops halfway through a fight to draw a parabola and do math problems before shooting at the enemy. That's not how aiming works. -5

Wacky alien romance subplot: What was this? Why did it happen? It was clumsy and the gender politics made my skin crawl a little. -10

Josh: Jess's Inappropriately Young Tween Star Boyfriend did a decent job as the nice alien, but was underutilized in Jess's opinion, in that he didn't have all the lines. +10

Nerdy Protagonist: He did a perfectly serviceable job in a completely by-the-numbers role, but was most enjoyable when the story forgot he had an emotional arc because he was busy fighting aliens. +2

Austin "Hey, It's That (Tween) Guy!" Butler: He was reasonably amusing in his brief appearances on Hannah Montana and iCarly, and is pretty genuinely hilarious in this as the slacker cousin who gets a leeettle too cheerfully Full Metal Jacket on the aliens. His "It's the po-po!" was probably the funniest line in the movie. +10

Little sister: Of course the little girl (who, with Tizz, is outnumbered 2-to-1 by boy cousins) is the gentle, nurturing one who befriends the nice alien. The idea that boys are devoid of compassion and girls are nothing but is a stereotype we have had more than enough of, but it was hardly a surprise. But this poor kid suffers from Webby Vanderquack Syndrome: she looks about eight, but sounds and acts about four. It's meant to be cute but just makes her come off as mentally deficient. - TEN THOUSAND.

The twins cousins: Were even more forgettable than the Sprouses. 0

Surprising star power: Tim Meadows, Kevin Nealon, and Andy Richter were all in this movie. +10

But they didn't do anything: Like, at all. -5.

The Actual Plot: Holds together reasonably well, despite some flaws (like frequently forgetting the parents exist, and the alien invasion plan not making much sense). +5

And finally...

La Tizz: She is well-cast as the sassy older sister in love for the first time, and does a kick-ass job in the role. She's endearingly vulnerable when the plot calls for it, but she is not going to put up with any crap - not from her brother, not from her boyfriend, and certainly not from aliens. Her comedic timing is spot-on, and her hair actually looks like it grew out of her head instead of being placed there by third-rate wigmakers! And speaking of kick-ass, after this movie, I want her as my plus-one in case of zombie apocalypse. +1 MILLION

TOTAL: 990,032. In other words: if you really love Ashley Tisdale, go see this movie! Otherwise, you're probably okay waiting for it to show up as a FOX Saturday Afternoon Movie.

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