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(2009), PG [Hard R-PG*] (1hr 20min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
January 21, 2010
January 23, 2010

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2009), PG [Hard R-PG*] ... as much screen time as she may in as little clothing as she may:

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Josephson Entertainment, New Upstairs Productions, Regency Enterprises, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, Upstairs Canada Productions
Distribution (US): Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Director(s): John Schultz
Producer(s): Marc S. Fischer, Joe Hartwick Jr., Barry Josephson, John R. Woodward
Screenplay by: Mark Burton, Adam F. Goldberg
Story by: Mark Burton
Cinematography/Camera: Don Burgess
Music: John Debney
Film Editing: John Pace
Casting: Julie Ashton
Production Design: Barry Chusid
Art Direction: Nigel Evans
Viewed at: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Home Entertainment DVD

This analysis is sponsored by the generosity of E&HP.

Aliens in the Attic, rated PG for "action violence, some suggestive humor and language." Suggestive humor indeed.

Like so many other young actresses reaching adulthood, 5' 3" Ashley Michelle Tisdale spends as much screen time as possible in this film with as much exposure as possible -- skin exposure: as much screen time as she may in as little clothing as she may. Well!? She was 24 years old at the time of the film release. That makes it okay, right? Not! Be aware, mom/dad. There is a l-o-t of dress to maximize skin exposure, "teen" skin to skin in swim wear, drawing of viewer attention to the male privates, innuendo about sexual conquest and other forms of challenging the threshold of wholesome sexual humility. So much so that this film earned a R-equivalent score of 17 out of 100 in the Sexual Immorality (S) investigation area.

Not one single instance of challenge of wholesome sexual humility was as extreme as are typically found in R-rated films but there were so m-a-n-y of them that, put all together and crammed into a short film (80 minutes of actual movie time), they easily make the magnitude or "feeling" of sexually oriented content of the picture equivalent to the same area in some R-rated films. And the same is true for the violence content as well as the content revealed by the Impudence/Hate (I) and Offense to God (O) investigation areas.

Loading or weighting the content of films with "lesser" examples of assault on morality and wholesome ethics to achieve the "feeling" of a film with more extreme content such as that typically found in R-rated films is a relatively new technique of filmmakers. Aliens in the Attic is so much a perfect example of that loading/weighting it earned a final score of 38 which is well within the range of scores earned by R-rated films (54 and below out of 100) in the comparative baseline database of films. Aliens in the Attic is truly a R-PG film, a hard R-PG mainly because of content revealed by the Wanton Violence Crime (W) and Impudence/Hate (I) investigation areas as well as but to a lesser extent the Sexual Immorality (S) and Offense to God (O) investigation areas. Each of those four investigation areas found content to be equivalent in magnitude to the same areas in some R-rated films. And the influence density (ID) earned by this film corroborates the R-PG. This film earned an ID of 1.29 while R-rated films in the comparative baseline database earned ID figures of 0.78 to 2.04 (the larger the ID number the more severe the density of assaults on morality and wholesome ethics).

Tom Pearson (Carter Jenkins) is a high school mathlete don'twannabe. He finds himself being targeted for shunning and tormenting by those who are jealous of his brianiac intelligence. Tom wants rather to be cool in the eyes of his peers So, he tanked his grades (failed on purpose) to be more likable by his peers and hacked the school website postings of grades to show passing grades. Trouble is that he was caught by Dad in the act of changing the grades.

Tom's dad, Stuart "Stu" Pearson (Kevin Nealon) and mom, Nina (Gillian Vigman) are not okay with that. Dad decides that all the high-tech stuff Tom has is the reason for the distance between he and Tom: that if Tom is smart enough to hack the school website he is smart enough to pass math. Dad hopes that a family vacation of togetherness will heal the schism between he and Tom. So, much to Tom's chagrin, tomorrow morning at sunup the Pearson family will embark on their family vacation to a rented house in Creek Landing, Michigan where fishing lakes -- and aliens -- abound. Young sister Hannah (Ashley Boettcher) calls the aliens "creepy crawlies."

In the midst of displays of the "It ain't good enough no matter what 'it' is" attitude, cousin Jake (Austin Robert Butler), twin cousins Art (Henri Young) and Lee (Regan Young), their divorced dad, Stu's brother, Nathan "Nate" Pearson (Andy Richter) show up along with Nana Rose (Doris Roberts).

Equally "It ain't good enough no matter what 'it' is" teenage sister Bethany (Ashley Michelle Tisdale) finds that her new boyfriend, calculating and lying Ricky Dillman (Robert Hoffman) shows up with a scheme to spend the evening and possible the night with the Pearsons. Ricky had shown up earlier outside Tom's bedroom window as he brought Ashley home after a sneak "date." Tom was in the process of hacking the school website grade postings when Ashley snuck in Tom's window -- with a threat to kill Tom ... with a "swear to God" of course ... if Tom told on her. We were first introduced to Ricky when he sexted a picture of himself nude from the waist up to Ashley as the family drove to Creek Landing.

Now, feigning car trouble, Ricky is invited to spend the night with the Pearsons. Tom recognizes Ricky's true intent and ends up, at the goad of Jake, paintballing Ricky ... in the privates, of course, which led to a lot of screen time and script on attention to Ricky's privates and innuendo about Ashley becoming Ricky's private nurse for his "injuries." Ashley was rubbing oil on Ricky as this happened after blaming the sun for all the heat and taking his shirt off in front of Ashley who was noticeably aroused by Ricky's maneuver.

Hail, hail the gang's all here now. Except the aliens.

An agitated Nana Rose saw that the TV was on the blink. Stu calmed his mother and told her the problem is probably the dish antenna. Dad told Tom to fix it. Ricky jumped in on the opportunity to make points with Ashley's parents and offered to help. But once at the sky window access to the dish antenna Ricky lowered his "nice guy" facade and maneuvered Tom into going out on the roof alone to fix the dish.

On the roof, Tom noticed the dish was shattered and scorched. This was the cinematic connection with an earlier scene of the alien ships landing on the Pearson's roof during an electrical storm. Joined by Jake, the pair are the first to meet the Zirconians, at least Sparky (voice of Josh Peck), the alien engineer who greeted the hu-mans with a pleasant personality. Soon, the rest of the Zirconian scout force; the Commander, Tazor (Thomas Haden Church - All About Steve, Spider-Man 3) and Razor (Kari Wahlgren) appear with the intent to kill the human race to take over the "luscious" planet earth. Why is not said and by the caliber of this entertainment is not needed.

From there the shenanigans begin. To discuss this story in any more detail would be belaboring the matter. Please look to the individual investigation area discussions below and especially to the listings in the Findings/Scoring section - the heart of the CAP analysis model - for the most complete accounting of the content of this film on the Internet. By this report, you should be in a better position to make an informed moral decision whether this film is fit for your family or other audience in your care

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
There is considerably meanness exhibited by the aliens, mostly toward each other. Numerous sequences of action violence invade the screen, mostly of the "slapstick" caliber, but a few are somewhat brutal for a PG audience. Nate Pearson brings illegal fireworks to the family vacation -- his son, Jake uses them. There is also alien weapon fire at children, at the elderly and at police. A long sequence of two "zombie-ized" characters fighting each other with impossible martial arts antics happens styled after the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and other more recent movies presenting fantasy martial arts antics. Jake is abducted and bound. All instances of violence are free of blood but they are still violence.

In addition to God's warning about feeding our minds with violence [Prov. 16:29], four American professional health agencies report, whether intentional or even knowing it, God is right about the negative effects as are imparted by this film [1 Cor. 15:33]. The key "measurable negative effects of children's exposure to violent entertainment" reported by the agencies include:

• Children who see a lot of violence are more likely to view violence as an effective way of settling conflicts. Children exposed to violence are more likely to assume the acts of violence are acceptable behavior.

• Viewing violence can lead to emotional desensitization towards violence in real life. It can decease the likelihood that one will take action on behalf of a victim when violence occurs.

• Entertainment violence feeds a perception that the world is a violent and mean place. Viewing violence increases fear of becoming a victim of violence, with a resultant increase in self-protective behavior and a mistrust of others.

• Viewing violence may lead to real life violence. Children exposed to violent programming at a young age have a higher tendency for violent and aggressive behavior later in life than children who are not so exposed.

What is "children?" From a Biblical perspective, children are His little ones. "Little ones" is mikros, meaning little of age, less by birth, younger. That includes all your children. Compared to you as a parent, your children are and always will be by birth of less age than you, younger. "Children", therefore, includes at-home teens. Teens, note that the definition of mikros speaks also to small size (stature) when speaking to children typically being smaller than their parents. But just because you may become taller or bigger than your parents does not mean you are no longer a "little one." Nor, by other verses, may your parents use "little one" at you as a weapon or term of belittlement.

Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
There were none of the typical three/four word vocabulary in this film but several times incomplete phrases of profanity were used. But teen hacking of an official website, teen deceit toward parents, teen arrogance at parental control, teen sneaking against parental rules, all the lying and a plethora of the "It ain't good enough no matter what 'it' is expressions and attitudes drug the area score of this investigation area from the starting 100 to zero. [Ps. 101:7, Eph. 5:4, Mark 7:20 - 23, Prov. 8:13, Isa. 13:11]

Sexual Immorality (S) - 17 out of 100
Also losing enough points to earn an area score equivalent to the magnitude of some R-rated features is the sexual immorality content. Tisdale often wears clothing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure. She participates in skin to skin contact with Dillman. The pair do things and say things together and individually that can only be understood as being of the sexual nature (e.g., Bethany being "private nurse" for Ricky's injured privates). This film clearly contains enough of the "lesser" examples of sexually immoral imagery, deed and comment to equal the magnitude of the sexual content typical of some R-rated films. Compare this concept to building a stone wall. It can be built with a few sections of stacked concrete or hundreds of small bricks. The bottom line is the wall gets built. Aliens in the Attic has been built with hundreds of small bricks. [1 John 2:26, Mark 7:21, Gal. 5:19 and many more]

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 83 out of 100
Nate has beer, talks about getting more and drinks some. That is all the Drugs/Alcohol (D) content of the film. But that is enough to alert you to a finding of the American College of Physicians (ACP) regarding alcoholic consumption in and as entertainment for youth. [Eph. 5:18]

The American College of Physicians (ACP) has found that exposure to booze and drinking in and as entertainment emboldens the viewer, in particular the middle school age stratum, the PG and PG-13 age stratum, to challenge the law and experiment with alcohol.

Though the ACP study used R-rated films since it was believed R-rated films contained the most drinking, the focus is on the influence of exposure to alcohol in and as entertainment regardless of the film rating. Besides, the ACP researchers were not aware of R-13 which defeats the assumption that R-rated films present the most drinking and drunkenness. A finding by Harvard University agreed with our R-13 finding, four years after our finding.

Within the ACP study population of 4544 middle school students (90% were under fourteen years old), the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

  • 46% for those with no restrictions on which rating may be viewed
  • 16% for those with partial restrictions on which rating may be viewed
  • four percent for those with complete restrictions.

    Rather revealing of the influences of the entertainment industry wouldn't you say? And emboldening children to sin with drink in and as entertainment screams of violating Luke 17:2.

    Offense to God (O) - 29 out of 100
    Seven uses of God's name in vain but all without the four letter expletive. The biggest problem with this is that 6 of them were spoken by adolescents. I wonder if their parents knew God has angels watching over His little ones ... and those angels behold the face of God. I wonder what the angels who watch over the children performers of this film had to say to God about their parents? [Matt. 18:10]

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
    There were no murders or suicides. Attempted murders or attempted suicides are not incorporated into this investigation area. The actions that could be viewed as attempted murders by the aliens were incorporated into the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area.


    If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Matt. 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. ["Despise" is kataphroneo {kat-af-ron-eh'-o}: to condemn, despise, disdain, think little or nothing of, to look down upon (which includes abuse, even by influence or bad example), lying to them, enticing/teasing them, seducing them and/or their thoughts, involving them in sin or crime, letting them sin, etc. What do you want the angels for your kids to say to God? By the way, "little ones" is mikros meaning less by birth, younger. All of your children are "less by birth" than you. All of them are younger. So, "little ones" includes at-home teens, the most easily influenced, morally malleable age stratum.]
  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • Ps. 101:7 No one [unforgiven] who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Mark 7:20 He [Jesus] went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.'
  • Prov. 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. ["Froward" in the Bible is tahpukah meaning perversity or perverse thing which fits with man's dictionary's definition: (of a person) difficult to deal with, contrary. The haughty arrogance of the "It ain't good enough no matter what 'it' is" attitude is certainly difficult to deal with.]
  • Isa. 13:11 I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless. [ ...whether we believe it or not, whether we like it or not, whether we care or not.]
  • Mark 7:21 For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, ...
  • Gal. 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; ...
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. [Since "drunk" is methusko {meth-oos'-ko}: to intoxicate; make drunk; to get drunk; become intoxicated, "wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it [1 Cor. 6:19]. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk OR to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Aliens in the Attic (2009) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
  • reckless vehicular endangerment of a child
  • creepy critters throughout bent on killing all hu-mans
  • alien aggression toward children, repeatedly
  • action violence, frequent, some brutal, some of the "slapstick' nature but violence nonetheless
  • weapon fire at children, police and an elderly woman, repeatedly
  • sword fight on background TV
  • aggressive meanness, some violent and potentially harmful
  • alien eating a rat
  • teen boy leading younger kids into "harm's way'
  • possession and use of illegal fireworks
  • abduction of a teen boy by the aliens, to do harm
  • threat to kill, repeatedly
  • long assault of an elderly woman by a teen boy

    Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
  • six uses of incomplete expressions of profanity plus one use of "tame" term for human posterior
  • teen boy hacking his online posted grades
  • teen girl sneaking out at night then back in through brother's bedroom window to avoid notice by parents with a threat to kill brother if he tells
  • teen arrogance at father, repeatedly
  • the "It ain't good enough no matter what 'it' is" teen attitude, repeatedly
  • lie about car breaking down to manipulate an overnight stay in girlfriend's house
  • teen boy admitting lying about at least three things to impress the father of the house
  • filmmakers placing adolescents in "Why won't you believe me" situation impossible for the reasonable parent to believe
  • general meanness between alien characters
  • lies, repeatedly, including group lie to parents, each other and police
  • risk-taking by teens
  • teen tantrum
  • forced lies to get rid of parents

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 17 out of 100
  • sexting
  • very short shorts, repeatedly
  • lack of humility about the amount of skin showing by teen girl in front of a teen boy, repeatedly
  • exhibitionism by teen boy to his girlfriend to entice her sexually
  • teen boy getting his girlfriend to rub him obviously in hopes of more
  • crotch hits, repeatedly
  • teen boy holding his paint ball stricken privates in front of his girlfriend
  • teen boy nursing his privates in front of girlfriend
  • teen boy talking about his girlfriend being his "private nurse" for his genital injury
  • gaping face kissing
  • teen boy and girl skin to skin in swim wear
  • pelvic thrusts in dance
  • nearly continuous attention to male privates through the last half or so of the film

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 83 out of 100
  • beer and talk of getting more, though by an adult
  • adult drinking

    Offense to God (O) - 29 out of 100
  • 7 uses of God's name in vain though without the four letter expletive, six by adolescents
  • teen seeking revenge

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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