"Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" Movie Review (2009)

12/28/2009 Posted by Admin

Movie Review

"Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel"

Directed by Betty Thomas, Written by Jon Vitti, Honathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, 93 minutes, Rated PG

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti



Anybody even remotely familiar with the "Alvin and the Chipmunks" media franchise knows the deal here. They're chipmunks. They can talk. They sing hit songs in squeaky voices. People love them.

Despite being a pretty big fan as a kid (primarily of the animated film "The Chipmunk Adventure" from 1987), I never watched the first of these live-action incarnations of the serenading rodents. It doesn't appear to matter, though--the sequel (or, sorry, "Squeakquel") tells us what we need to know right away.

Dave (Jason Lee), the adoptive father of the chipmunks, has an accident while the group is in Paris for a concert and has to stay in the hospital. I can only assume this was done because Jason Lee wanted nothing more to do with this franchise, but as a huge fan of Lee that may just be wishful thinking on my part. Either way, Dave is incapacitated and the trio must be babysat by Dave's cousin Toby (Zachary Levi of NBC's "Chuck"). Meanwhile, their nemesis from the first film, Ian Hawke (David Cross), is preparing vengeance against the three with a new act--three singing female chipmunks called the Chipettes.

The big addition to this sequel (besides the Chipettes, of course) is that the chipmunks (Alvin, Simon and Theodore, in case you weren't aware) begin to attend high school. I don't really know their ages, but they certainly don't seem mature enough for high school, and we don't once see them in an actual classroom. Apparently, their high school is all about lunches and gym class, because chipmunks doing math isn't funny. Or something.

As the chipmunks (including their female counterparts) go through high school and such, they learn lessons about friendship, family, the importance of music programs in school (certainly a refreshing lesson these days), and how crucial it is not to let the potential for popularity overcome your concern for far more important things, such as playing the Wii or performing at the Staples Center. Seriously, I haven't seen so many out-of-place and awkward product placements since the random McDonalds dance sequence in "Mac and Me" (don't worry, obscure '80s movie references end here).

Overall, the film is surprisingly adequate. The humor is suitable for children without being too patronizing or unbearable for parents, the animation is generally quite good (the only problem I had here were a couple occasions where the actor's vision wouldn't quite match where the chipmunks were), and the overall thematic material is certainly good for the audience, who at such a young age will probably get a greater appreciation for the messages than they would later on.

Obviously the music is the big part of the film, but what can I say that people aren't already expecting? They chipmunks sing Top 40 pop tunes in really squeaky voices. If that kind of thing appeals to you, then you're in for a treat. If not, well, you probably never planned on seeing the film no matter what this review said.

Personally, I found little to admire here, but since this is most definitely not a film aimed at me in any conceivable way, I can't really hold that against it. After all, "The Chipmunk Adventure" was probably unbearable for my parents to watch, but I was engaged and excited throughout the entire runtime. Such will probably be the case here. What I will say is this--yes, it's probably a good film for children. But when films far more sophisticated and enjoyable at all ages like "Up" or "Where the Wild Things Are" come out, a film like this merely seems trivial.

Grade: C

View the trailer for "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" below.  What are your thoughts?


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5 comments:

  1. Quickblade said...

    Okay, I have only seen the trailers to this movie, I want to say that first, before I voice my opinion.

    I watched the first trailer, and immediately afterwards, I wanted to puke. I mean, it did NOT feel right. Then, I see the second trailer, I couldn't get "Single Ladies" (by Beyonce) out of my head... And not the original version, I might add. That one would've been fine. (Especially the video with Timberlake acting like a clown. That was funny.) All-in-all, I have no plans on seeing this movie. Saw the first, fell asleep. I watch this one, I'll wake up in the E.R....

  2. Admin said...

    Well, we don't want you in the ER.

    ;-)

    Thanks, Quickblade.

    Christopher

  3. Anonymous said...

    I won't lie. I thought it was a really good movie. I am a 26 year old man. I don't know what it was, but it really was a charming movie. what did people expect anyway? Wall E? Pfft...

  4. Movies said...

    lol.. 26 years old watch this animation indeed prove some good ting about this movies...will try to watch it soon

  5. Leshy said...

    Yea, saw it with my 4 year old. Reviewer pretty much hit the nail on the head with the last paragraph. I wouldn't go see it or rent it unless you or whoever you are watching it currently likes the chipmunks, (I saw currently because I assume most people who watched it as a kid wouldn't want to see this now). True there are "better" movies for kids, but my 4 year is too young to sit through a movie like Where the Wild Things Are.
    Damn it, I can't WAIT until I finally show him Jurassic Park!