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 30 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 47 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

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.).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 7-year-old Written bycncode December 21, 2020

Son loved, Dad enjoyed

as far as kid humor goes totally tolerable for adults and total fun for kids. movie has aged well.
Adult Written bySalupton October 17, 2020

A fun film for us all

My 6 year old and 8 year old really enjoyed this film. My 6 year old was on the edge of her seat a couple of times but this just made it exciting. As parents,... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 26, 2021

Fun exciting kids movie has some creative scenes.

This is an upbeat movie, that I enjoyed. The boyfriend/girlfriend relationship stuff was weird though. The best scene of the whole movie is Grandma vs. Ricky. T... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byTheRealTea September 8, 2019

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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action and adventure

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate