ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: ROAD CHIP – The Review
Unless you’re under the age of five, you’ll find nothing to like about the generic cash-grab ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: ROAD CHIP. The first ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS, back in ’07, wasn’t bad. Jason Lee, who plays Alvin, Simon, and Theodore’s guardian David Seville, had some fun reactions and chemistry with the furry CGI critters. In the sequels, including this new one, Lee shows up at the beginning for some large-scale comedic disaster sequence, screams “Alvin!!!” a couple of times, then sits the trio down and tells them he must travel for the rest of the film so they’d better behave while he’s gone. Then some young Disney Channel star is brought in to team up with The Chipmunks for the remainder of the movie until Lee returns at the end to collect his paycheck.
In ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: ROAD CHIP David is off to propose to his girlfriend Shira (Kimberly Williams). Her teenage son Miles (Josh Green) mildly bullies the rodents, so they travel to Florida to stop the engagement so they won’t have to put up with an obnoxious new stepbrother (whom they inexplicably bring along with them on their trip….I mean chip). At first they sneak aboard an airplane, but it’s grounded when they release a cargo hold full of animals into coach (it’s never explained why there’s a goat and flock of pigeons on board). The plane’s bumbling Air Marshall (Harlan Williams), then follows the boys across country to Miami so they can all reunite with David.
ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: ROAD CHIP stops cold for several headache-inducing music numbers, padding the slim script with helium-voiced versions of pop songs. If you’ve always wanted to see The Chipmunks march with a seasoned jazz band down Bourbon Street (on a set that looks nothing like New Orleans) for a high-pitched rendition of Uptown Funk in its entirety (!), this is your film. The script leans heavily on the pranks and big-eyed cuteness of the li’l guys and leaves the live actors stuck with tiresome dialogue and nothing to do as they have to pretend to know what’s going on as the CG effects take place beside and around them. They do their best. Jennifer Coolidge shows up in one scene reprising her Stiffler’s Mom floozy but is given nothing funny to say. John Waters insults Alvin on an airplane to which the rodent replies “Don’t judge me. I’ve seen PINK FLAMINGOS” (who’s that gag aimed at?). Christina Applegate, Anna Ferris, and Kaley Cuoco voice The Chippettes, who are barely in the film. Their vocals (like Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, and Jesse McCartney as The Chipmunks) are sped up, which makes one wonder why they bother casting celebrity voices if they’re going to be made unrecognizable.
Toddlers might appreciate Harlan Williams’ enthusiastic mugging, and will scream in delight when the Chipmunks fart and pee, but for any adult this will be a long 85 minutes. So you might say: “But this new installment of Alvin and the Chipmunks is a movie for kids. It’s not made for a pretentious high-minded film critic like yourself”. True, but that’s a crutch. Children also would enjoy Tootsie Rolls for breakfast, which is why parents need to step in and help them make better movie choices. Take them to see PEANUTS or THE GOOD DINOSAUR. If they’ve seen those, see them again. ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: ROAD CHIP is a terrible movie, a soul-crushing free-fall into total plastic. Kids deserve better.
1 of 5 Stars