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Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (G)


12/22/11
By Amy Diaz adiaz@hippopress.com



The Chipmunks and Chipettes return for an adventure on a cruise ship in Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, a movie that some people (parents) will be forced to see.

And for that, I am sorry.

Chipmunks Alvin (voice of Justin Long), Simon (voice of Matthew Gray Gubler) and Theodore (voice of Jesse McCartney) and Chipettes Brittany (voice of Christina Applegate), Eleanor (voice of Amy Poehler) and Jeanette (voice of Anna Faris) are all heading on a family vacation cruise with their human (and live-action) father Dave (Jason Lee). Though Simon tries to convince Dave that now is the time to give the kids a little more independence, Alvin messes up the teachable moment by sneaking into a casino and serving as bad behavior role model for the rest of the group. (I’m sure Carnival Cruise Lines considered this a great opportunity to sneak some advertising into a movie, but the scenes of the kids cavorting through a dance club are enough to make me never want to book a cruise. A scene featuring two Jersey Shore rejects giving sass to the ’ettes makes the squeaky-voiced rodents seem like the least terrifying part of the cruise ordeal.)

Dave punishes the kids by confining their cruise ship fun to shuffleboard but then he falls asleep, giving Alvin time to try that hang-gliding he always wanted to do. Naturally, one thing leads to another and soon all of the Chips are being blown off the boat and into the open ocean. Dave awakes and quickly tries to rescue them but winds up in the drink as well thanks to the fumblings of Ian (David Cross), the villain of the previous movies, who shows up here working as a mascot on the cruise.

The Chipmunks eventually wash ashore on an island and soon the six of them are faced with trying to survive in their new, fame-free environment. Dave and Ian wash up on a different part of the island, which gives them plenty of time to talk about the hurdles and joys of parenting chipmunks.

When valuable lessons aren’t being talked at us, they are being demonstrated back in camp Alvin, where Simon is bitten by a spider and, in his delirium, believes he is an adventuresome French explorer named Simone. His recklessness requires Alvin to become the responsible one and his romantic pursuit of Eleanor makes Brittany wonder if she is indeed still the pretty one.

And, intermittently, the various Chips sing.

I think this is what comes of living in a world with no record players. Kids have never had records played too fast for them and then laughed at the novelty. Ha, ha! — end of trick. Now, they have to get their squeaks through these movies and so enough people show up to see them and so they keep making new ones. I like portable music too but is it worth the cost?

Actually, when I was a kid, I loved Alvin and the Chipmunks (and we had a record player) and now I can’t remember for the life of me why. Maybe it’s one of those things, like cheap boxed mac & cheese, that you hold in high esteem as a kid but just can’t enjoy as an adult.

Patience-wearing stories about family relationships interspersed with irritating renditions of mostly grating pop songs? Thanks, Chipmunks, but we already have Glee. C-

Rated G. Directed by Mike Mitchell and written by Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger (from characters by Ross Bagdasarian and Janice Karman), Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked is an hour and 27 minutes long and distributed in wide release by 20th Century Fox.






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