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This bland and predictable animation about an outsider kid who makes friends with aliens pinches an awful lot of its ideas from superior family films, without reviving any of their wonder or fun. Even the aliens – a trio who arrive on Earth to buy a massage bed from a shopping channel they’ve been watching on the mothership – look a lot like blobbier versions of the aliens from Toy Story.
The kid is Luis, a lonely 11-year-old who is ignored by his dad (picture Tim Roth in cartoon form), a crackpot alien-obsessive too busy peering into a telescope to pay attention to his son. Poor Luis even has to bake his own birthday cake. At school, he’s picked on by the class bully and ignored by the girl of his dreams, Jennifer, a reporter on the newspaper. Worse, the matron of a home for “problem children” (she’s a cross between Cruella de Vil and Anna Wintour) swoops into his headteacher’s office one afternoon to cart off Luis. Will the aliens help repair Luis’s relationship with his dad? Will Jennifer discover his true value? Go figure.
This really is all influences with nothing added. The script throws in one or two decent adult-orientated jokes. When the aliens first spot Earth on their radar, it’s identified as a planet in a backwards corner of the universe, a former toxic waste dump from which a primitive a life form emerged: humans. It’s mostly harmless, though there are some unforgivably lazy character stereotypes. The worst is a bird-brained Latin American maid, followed in close second by Jennifer’s hopeless overweight assistant, who has no dialogue. A running joke involves her bungling a video camera whenever she’s supposed to be filming something important. Someone really should have picked up on this stuff.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Luis and the Aliens review – bland and predictable extraterrestrial adventure | Family films