Alvin and the Chipmunks
Rated PG; Directed by Tim Hill; Starring Jason Lee, David Cross, Cameron Richardson
It’s hard to believe that those singing chipmunks are almost 50 years old. In Alvin and the Chipmunks we get an updated look at those singing chipmunks. Instead of cartoon creatures, the chipmunks are computer animated this time, but new technology doesn’t update one thing that has existed since 1958: they still have those irritatingly high “chipmunk” voices.
The film starts with the three chipmunks working to store up enough nuts for winter when suddenly they accidentally join their tree on a trip to Los Angeles. It’s Christmas time and in one of the more entertaining segments the three critters, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore find themselves racing around a busy office trying to find a way out. They hitch a ride with Dave Seville (Jason Lee), an out-of-luck songwriter. When Dave discovers that his life now includes three mischievous and talking chipmunks, he does what anyone would do. No, he doesn’t call any scientific organizations to study this miracle; he writes them a Christmas song to sing.
The movie is an awkward slop of sentimentality, silly music, and broad comedy. It’s perfect for a six year old. Kids love watching kids make huge messes, misbehave, and do crazy things. So kids will enjoy watching the chipmunks take over David’s house, trash everything, and make David’s life hell. Face it, Alvin and his partners are roommates from hell. Or, to be more specific, they are just like little kids. And that’s the message the movie aims for. David has to learn to be a father to these childish chipmunks.
Poor Jason Lee. He seems tired and less than thrilled to be playing the part of the “dad.” Even the normally funny David Cross (Arrested Development) comes across as bland.in the role of the record producer. Cameron Richardson does little other than look pretty with her girl next door role. Director Tim Hill goes for the most obvious jokes and can’t make much of the plot. The music is entertaining if you can get past the annoying voices part.
Alvin and the Chipmunks is the kind of movie that your children will enjoy. You may even find some of the jokes funny, as there is a bright spot or two. But if you can’t handle pop culture mined for a children’s film than this movie may not be for you, and if you hate helium-voiced characters than stay far away from Alvin and the Chipmunks.