Alvin and the Chipmunks
It’s sad when you realise that something you used to find endlessly entertaining as a child is no longer appealing to you. Much like discovering we would rather play drinking games than jump rope, or that the sense of wild exhilaration rollercoasters used to give us has now been replaced by a lot of whiplash, it seems the time has come where we may have outgrown The Chipmunks. Either that or this modern-day retelling of how the trio of rodents – much loved for both their high-pitched covers of classic pop songs and their ’80s animated TV series – found fame in the music industry aided by their human guardian Dave (Jason Lee) was, well, crap.
The film recasts Dave as a down-on-his-luck songwriter searching for a fresh idea to get him noticed by big-shot manager Ian Hawke (David Cross). When he discovers a trio of chipmunk stowaways in his basket of muffins that handily can not only talk but sing in delightfully high-pitched harmony, he realises his ship has come in. Hawke, however, has other plans that include splitting up the newfound alliance between Dave and his ‘talent’ in order to exploit the wide-eyed rodent threesome. Will Alvin, Simon and Theodore see through their manager’s conniving ways? Will they hold on to the values of friendship and loyalty amidst the superficiality of the music industry? And the most important question – does anyone really care?
In our opinion, no. This film will no doubt fly with younger children because, let’s face it, stick in a few cutesy CGI characters and some basic fart-related jokes and they’ll be rolling in the aisles. Veteran wrangler of five-year-olds’ attention Tim Hill (who’s directed the SpongeBob Squarepants series and film as well as the gross-out-humour-friendly Rocko’s Modern Life) navigates through these predictable waters capably, but it’s a long way from being entertaining for anyone old enough to choose their own bedtime. As with the recently-released Squeakquel, this film will do if the kids are being particularly tiresome and you’re desperate for something to stick them in front of on a rainy afternoon. But with so many more intelligent options in this genre nowadays, you’ve really no reason to subject yourself to it.
Chip-Chip-Hooray! Chipmunk History
Creating Chipmunk Music Featurette
History of the Munks
Inside Look – Horton Hears a Who