Aliens in the Attic

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Aliens in the Attic Movie Poster Image
Silly teens-versus-aliens adventure is sure to delight kids.
  • PG
  • 2009
  • 86 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 28 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 46 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

The educational value would be higher if the premise didn't involve keeping parents and other adults in authority out of the loop. But kids do learn the importance of family, teamwork, and that you should never pretend to be "dumb" just to look "cool."

Positive Messages


The cousins get along and learn to work together to save their parents (and all of humanity, for that matter). With youngest cousin Hannah leading the way, all of the cousins decide to help the kind, non-threatening alien.


Positive Role Models & Representations

The cousins are all, in their own way, positive examples of brave, selfless kids willing to sacrifice their own safety for the greater good. They're creative with their problem-solving skills (how to effectively keep the aliens at bay).

Violence & Scariness

The violence is mostly cartoonish -- although they're menacing, the aliens aren't scary. Most of the violence involves potato and paint guns, as well as other handmade weapons that the kids devise. The alien trio can control adult humans by shooting a small device into them, which leads to some humorous fight scenes a la The Matrix. A few possibly disturbing scenes involve Jake being tied and dragged away by the aliens and the aliens being temporarily expanded into giants. There's no blood, and no one dies.

Sexy Stuff

Heavy flirting between Bethany and her boyfriend Ricky, who picks her up while she's wearing a bikini and talks about "hooking up" and her "playing nursemaid" to him. He later says her friend is "smoking hot." The cousins talk about whether Ricky has gotten "to second base" with Bethany.


Mild insults are hurled frequently: "idiot," "stupid," "tool," "loser," "princess" (said to a guy), "dumb," "shut up." Other language includes "crap," "oh my God," "what the..." (not completed), and "heck."


Many recognizable products are featured or mentioned: Coke/Diet Coke, Apple/Mac, Mentos, Trunki kids' suitcases, Altavision Grand Prix, Nintendo DS, X-box, the movie The Mask of Zorro, etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this alien adventure comedy stars Disney Channel and Nickelodeon veterans like Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical) and Austin Robert Butler (Zoey 101), so expect tweens and younger elementary schoolers to be interested.There's a heavy dose of physical humor and action, as well as some mildperil, but it's fairly mild compared to other tween-targetedfilms. The language includes frequent use of insults like "stupid," "idiot," and "tool," while the consumerism focuses heavily onelectronics (Nintendo, Mac, X-box, etc.).

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRumata2019 June 1, 2019

Our 8 and 6yos LOVED it

The kids absolutely loved it (and shockingly grown ups did too). Lots of slapstick humor and cartoonish fighting, but I don’t see any issues showing this to a r... Continue reading
Parent of a 7-year-old Written byJace N October 8, 2018

Super silly

My kids liked the movie and found it really funny. Lol dads watching it might find themselves crossing their legs due to the amount of nut shots Rocky receives.... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byTheRealTea September 8, 2019
Teen, 13 years old Written byreviewmovieguy13 September 6, 2019

Exciting plot with some mild sex references

A very exciting movie but has some scenes with Ricky and Bethany flirting. Very, very mild language. Quite a bit of violence but not that much gore at all.

What's the story?

The six Pearson cousins are vacationing together in a rented lake house when Jake (Austin Butler) and Tom (Carter Jenkins) make a far-out discovery: There are four freaky Zirconian aliens in the attic, and they have pretty scary plans for humanity. Since the extra-terrestrials use a device that can control adults but not kids, the young Pearsons unite to save their parents -- and the rest of the world -- from the little green aliens.

Is it any good?

Since the aliens are funnier than they are frightening, the film's cartoonish nature should thrill even younger adventure-seekers. The two dads, played by comedic vets Kevin Nealon and Andy Richter, don't have much to do, although Nana (Doris Roberts) gets to star in a rather hilarious, Matrix-style fight against Bethany's (Ashley Tisdale) alien-operated boyfriend, Ricky (Robert Hoffman).

Ultimately, this is the classic formula of band-of-heroic-kids versus  dangerous antagonists. In this case, one of the aliens (voiced by Josh Peck) is sympathetic to humans, so he helps the kids, too. While younger audiences will hoot and root for the Pearson clan, parents will snicker at the sight of children completely unfamiliar with a rotary phone and grown-ups so out of the loop that they'll think a descending alien force is a meteor shower. Consider this a Gremlins-lite for the X-box generation.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's cartoonish violence. Will younger kids be frightened, or do you think they'll understand from the start that the aliens aren't all that evil?

  • Parents can also discuss the kids' secrecy. Kids: is it generally a wise idea to keep important concerns from your parents?

  • An important issue is raised when Tom, a "mathlete," says he'd rather hide his intelligence and tank his grades than be labeled a nerd. Why is this a dangerous message? Why does Tom change his mind?

  • There's a noticeable amount of brand placement in the movie. What message do all those corporate logos send kids?

Movie details

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