You will get exactly what you expect from this much hyped family friendly 3-D hit. Monsters Vs. Aliens (94 minutes) is enjoyable on many levels, so while the kids laugh at the sight gags, their escorts can count the references to other classic movies. Besides the more obvious references to Mothra, The Fly and E.T. the Extraterrestrial; savvy viewers can have fun spotting the more subtle allusions to An Inconvenient Truth, Beverly Hills Cop, The Godfather, Spaceballs and Close Encounters of the Third Kind
     Letterman and Vernon do an okay job directing, but they somehow fail to stamp anything distinctive into the mix. It is a nice touch that the film was filmed in 3D rather than adding the effect later, but it seems like there could have been a little more razzle dazzle in the final version.  {mosimage}
     Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) is ready to marry weatherman Derek Dietl (Paul Rudd) when she is hit in the face by a radioactive meteor. As so often happens when people get smacked in the head with irradiated space detritus, Susan gets a growth spurt and a different hair color. The military arrives to capture Susan. They rename her Ginormica, since Susan doesn’t have the “Wow” factor the military aim for when referring to their top secret projects. They knock her out and take her to the hidden location where all their monsters are stored. 
     Her new friends include Benzoate Ostylezene Bicarbonate, or B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D. (the barely recognizable voice of Hugh Laurie), The Missing Link (Will Arnett), and Insectosaurus. Though her new friends are living comfortably in their gilded cage, Susan only wants to return to normal and reunite with Derek. 
     Meanwhile, an alien named Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson from The Office) is obsessed with obtaining the radioactive material absorbed by Susan. He sends a probe to Earth, and the President (Stephen Colbert) makes an unsuccessful attempt at first contact, which naturally ends in lots of explosions. In the face of total destruction, General W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) convinces the President to call in the monsters for help.
     Upon arrival in the battle zone amidst some very nice 3D effects, Susan and company do their best to win a decisive victory. As the third act comes to a close, Gallaxhar has arrived on Earth with serious consequences for our heroes. 
     Nicely complementing the main characters is a cast of well-known cameos. Chief among them are Jeffrey Tambor from Arrested Development playing Susan’s father, Amy Poehler from a million awesome things playing Galaxhar’s computer, Ed Helms as a reporter and John Krasinski from The Office as Cuthbert.  Incidentally, I thought America agreed that Krasinski wasn’t allowed to make any more theatrical movies after the dismal License to Wed.
     As a ‘50s B-movie revival, this light animated comedy is enjoyable without really making an impression.  The effects are nice, but the story is predictable and never really lives up to its potential. With one exception the voice actors never quite find their emotional range. Rogen as B.O.B. gets most of the giggles because he, at least, is playing to his strengths. 
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