A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
Do I really know what kinds of movies are appropriate for little kids? I'm not sure. It's been a while since I was one.
I do know I'm disturbed by the fact that parents and people in that mysterious "adult guardian" category do take little kids to see R-rated movies that are likely to frighten them now and harden them later. I know I don't think slasher and horror movies are "funny" for little kids, even though they may be under peer - and even parental - pressure to see them. But what do kids like? I have a funny feeling they may enjoy movies like "Spaced Invaders," a film I found almost appallingly unwatchable. I have no use for critics who accompany children to the movies and then file reports on how the children reacted. Let the kids write their own reviews. But I do know that the kids I saw "Spaced Invaders" with found it funny when I found it moronic, and interesting when I found it dead in the water.
So maybe I've lost touch with silly, brainless entertainments like this. Let's hope so: One of the purposes of growing up and getting an education is to learn why movies like "Spaced Invaders" are a waste of time. And yet, a small, far-away voice inside of me says there once was a time when I would have liked this movie, when I was young and open to wonderments. I would have liked its goofiness and its bubble-headed comedy, and I would have been grateful that it did not pound me over the head with violent special effects, or depress me with heroes that live in sewers.
The movie springboards from the famous Orson Welles "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast on Halloween of 1939, when half the nation apparently believed his breathless news reports that Martians had landed in the marshes of New Jersey. "Spaced Invaders" also takes place on Halloween, and when the Martians land, the inhabitants of Big Bean, Ill., think they're kids in costumes, or some kind of a stunt, or something (the residents of Big Bean have an intelligence level suggesting they are recent brain donors).