Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Comedy Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel

Comedy/Musical/Live Action/Animation | rated PG | starring Zachary Levi, David Cross, Jason Lee, Wendie Malick | directed by Betty Thomas | 1:28 mins

Alvin, Simon and Theadore – together known as the world-famous pop group The Chipmunks – are shipped off to school when Dave (Jason Lee) is laid up in traction and they are taken in by his slacker nephew (Zachary Levi, Chuck). In school they encounter jocks that make fun of them and a washed up record executive (David Cross) who discovers a new singing rodent group, The Chippettes, and pits the two groups against each other in a school sing-off.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, a squeakquel to the original live-action/animation family hit based on the popular 50s singing chipmunks and the 80s cartoon that followed, is a movie that is basically unreviewable. It’s a children’s movie, not a family film, that plays directly into a demographic that isn’t older than 9-years-old. Kids probably will get a kick out of the over-the-top slapstick, bright cartoonish colors and pint-sized CGI animated antics.

The movie does exactly what it intends to do and the catch-22 is that a child won’t know or care how bad it is. Not yet at least. Whether the studios like it or not, the bar for these movies has been raised. Appealing to both children and adults has gone from being a surprising bonus to being the norm. After being spoiled on Pixar and Dreamworks cartoons for years that appealed to the whole family, Squeakquel will make the eyes glaze over for anyone in the room who is old enough to read this review.

Originally, I thought Squeakquel did no damage. Harmless, mindless entertainment. But then I thought about my own childhood, seeing the 80s cartoon and listening to the Chipmunks sing “The Chipmunk Song” about Christmas from a cassette tape and the boomer generation who remembers the 50s incarnation. While The Chipmunks are hardly classic characters, they have been part of the childhoods of several generations. They were sweeter Chipmunks. The children these days deserve a lot better then this one-liner spewing, commercially constructed basterdization.

It goes from odd to obnoxious to listen to these once perennial characters spit out cringingly-bad one-liners. Lines that come stale off the assembly line of the Hollywood children’s movie one-liner machine. In the span of a few minutes Alvin says “Don’t hate the player, hate the game” and “I’m the king of the world”. Later we get “You’re fired” and “It’s on like Donkey Kong”. The Chipmunks and Chippettes singing hyper-contemporary songs like “Single Ladies” and “You Spin me Round”.

The humans in the movie are all here to just make fools of themselves. It’s unclear why the story decided to sideline Jason Lee’s Dave for this go-round and bring in Zachary Levi who sleepwalks through the production – not that he has anything to play anyway. Squeakquel oddly takes the Dreamworks stunt celebrity casting approach to the voice work, bringing in Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds), Christina Applegate, Anna Faris and Amy Pohler to voice the animated chipmunks – then it speeds up their voices to unrecognizable chipmunk level. Trey Parker and Matt Stone could have voiced every rodent in this movie and I wouldn’t have noticed the difference.

Ok, so Theadore (Jesse McCartney) is pretty cute. I suppose, at the end of the day there’s really nothing wrong with Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. It’s a kid’s movie that will annoy the parents and offend those who have a memory of the Chipmunks but doesn’t make any mistakes of throwing in a bunch of inappropriate sexual gags like a Ron Howard/Brian Grazer kid’s movie would have. It exists as a babysitter, a device to silence a child and scrub their minds free of thought for a few minutes. It does what it set out to do. But I can’t give it a score higher than this because there are too many other smarter, more thoughtful and less callously assembled children’s movies out there than this one.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Post

Stan HelsingStan Helsing

Stan Helsing (A Parody) | Parody | rated R (A,L) | starring Steve Howey, Kenan Thompson, Diora Baird, Desi Lydic, Leslie Neilsen | 1:48 mins Slacker video store clerk Stan Helsing