A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Emphasizes the importance of teamwork, courage, and selflessness. Those who work together survive in a way that those who are selfish don't. Sibling collaboration is encouraged.
Positive Role Models
Samantha, despite a temporary lack of judgment, is an attentive big sister who puts herself in danger to save her brother and his friends. Gary, for all his bluster, loves his friends and sister. Billy is an unredeemed villain who seems to have no empathy for even his friends and is willing to put others in harm's way to save himself. The parents are completely checked out and show no interest in being present for or helping their kids.
The group of friends is mostly White, with the exception of Gary (Latino actor Dominic Mariche) and Dallas (Black actor Isaiah Fortune), and male except for Samantha (Phoebe Rex) and one other girl.
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Violence & Scariness
Fishermen witness an alien ship land and are then killed one by one by the aliens. The aliens kidnap and kill people, liquefying one character and turning another one into a monster. A boy is hurt and hospitalized with a sprain. Teens and tweens push and shove one another, and one teen demands that his friend come and break a younger boy's arm (but he refuses). A character uses a sword to fight aliens. An alien/human hybrid attacks humans. Kids band together to set off fireworks and burn aliens.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teens make out, partially undressed, in a bed. Later a video captures a teen showing his penis and awaiting oral sex (not shown on camera).
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"F--k" is used constantly by tweens and teens. Other uses of strong language include "s--t," "d-k," "a--hole," "bitch," "p---y," and more. Insult language.
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Products & Purchases
Logo is obscured, but what looks like an Apple laptop is shown.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Several characters are shown smoking cigarettes, and an entire party full of teens drinks alcohol (several are visibly drunk and a few even throw up), smokes cigarettes, and takes pills.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Kids vs. Aliens is a crude, low-budget sci-fi adventure that features teens and tweens who curse a ton and, in the case of the high schoolers, smoke cigarettes, drink, and fool around. This edgy movie about plucky, nerdy kids outsmarting cool teens and frightening aliens is likely to appeal to younger audiences who like retro shows or survival stories. But the strong language, substance use, and violence suggest that it's actually aimed at nostalgic adults. The salty language is so over the top that it's almost funny ("f--k" is used in nearly every scene of dialogue), and the violence includes both aliens attacking humans and human-on-human brawling. Teens smoke cigarettes and drink too much, and there are a few scenes of teen sexuality. A half-clothed couple makes out on a bed, and a boy cheats on his girlfriend by engaging in a sexual act with another girl (it's heard but not seen). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This crude, unevenly paced alien-invasion adventure targets young-at-heart adults, kids at unsupervised sleepovers, or families who think it's funny when kids are foul-mouthed jokesters. Based on the short film "Slumber Party Alien Abduction," the premise of Eisener's tribute to "simpler times" when siblings and pals made home movies in their backyard is really thin: A hormonal older sister betrays her little brother's trust right before aliens kidnap a house party full of underage kids. It's somewhat promising at first, but the dialogue is so reliant on coarse language that it stops being novel by the 50th use of "effing" in the first 15 minutes. There's no world-building to explain the nature of the alien arrival and little characterization to develop why Samantha and Gary's parents would think it's appropriate to leave their 16-year-old daughter in charge for a weekend. The parents (Jessica Marie Brown and Jonathan Torrens) are so awful that Dad literally takes a call while Gary is in the hospital to apologize for being temporarily delayed because he's dealing with "family s--t." Suspension of disbelief is fine when it comes to extra terrestrials, but the depiction of these parents strains all credulity.
The slim production values work in Gary's movie-within-a-movie sections, but the creature work is straight out of a 1960s B-movie. The old-school humanoid aliens with giant heads look more like something out of a vintage theme park than a 21st century film. But ultimately they're secondary to the family drama playing out between the siblings. And the human antagonists -- Billy and his crew -- are worse than the aliens. They're completely one-note; it's clear from the moment Billy spots Samantha that he's a manipulative jerk, and his treatment of Gary and his friends is indefensible. Kids vs. Aliens does offer a few lighthearted laughs, but overall it's a movie that had more potential than substance. Even at just an hour and 15 minutes, it feels simultaneously unfinished and overlong.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.