Rated PG for some mild rude humor.
Directed By: Tim Hill
Written By: Jon Vitti and Will McRobb
They are chipmunks who talk, Dave, people are going to come and see them. -Ian
Bachelor and music creator Dave has hit a brick wall in the creativity department. As luck would have it his home has been invaded by three musically equipped Chipmunks who love to sing and have taken to Dave. At first Dave thinks he’s going insane, but then resolves himself to the reality that the Chipmunks are not only capable of talking but really can sing. Dave whips together a few songs to present to his friend that happens to be a big music producer. Unfortunately, the Chipmunks get stage fright and Dave looks more like a mental patient escapee rather than a talented artist. Dave’s regular employment has be terminated due to some Chipmunk artwork, and though he adores his new friends it seems they are causing him more grief than glory.
Alvin and The Chipmunks was not at all the horrific nightmare of a film the previews gave way to. In fact, it was pleasant and a fun family viewing and has also inspired me to rethink my harsh review of Garfield. Alvin And The Chipmunks was much more satisfactory in the category of adult entertainment while Garfield seemed to appeal solely to children. I had hoped Garfield would have been more geared to the adult audience and felt The Chipmunks should have been more focused on a child audience. My kids adore Garfield and are “ok” with the Chipmunks which I felt was a far superior film. This is the danger of making a live action film with beloved character’s from certain generations and then making them “childrens” movies. No matter what you do, when your adaptation is purely mediocre the creator’s will eventually annoy someone. Each of these films suffered just that.
Nonetheless Alvin and The Chipmunks was successful in one very important category where so many films, including Garfield have failed. The CGI of the Chipmunks was simply brilliant. While it was obvious they were CGI their character’s were fleshed out enough to really exploit the essence of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore and had fantastic voice overs playing each of them. They were all infectious, cute little creatures that were just as adorable as Gizmo from Gremlins. They were the real stars of the movie, and while mildly annoying at times, mostly just entertaining.
The most distracting aspect of the story was the typical “everything goes wrong” scene. Dave loses his job, his future music deals, his girlfriend, and by the looks of it: his home, which the Chipmunks are in destroying at every turn. These kind of beats are so standardized and habitual for this kind of movie it was annoying to the near point of turning the tele off. Fortunately, there was a five year old in the back round who desperately wanted to see what happened next.
What followed turned out to be the saving grace of the story. Sure it was predictable and obvious, but it played out in an amusing enough capacity that I no longer felt like I was stomaching the rest of the story. I even laughed out loud at some of the obnoxious potty humor, to which the younglings did not catch. Some of the more adult story lines and themes will be missed on younger children and may even bore them completely, but it makes much more passable for an older child or a parent to sit through as well.
- Jason Lee as Dave
- David Cross as Ian Hawke
- Cameron Richardson as Claire Wilson
- Justin Long as Alvin
- Matthew Gray Gubler as Simon
- Jesse McCarthy as Theodore
Jason Lee wasn’t necessarily the best choice for Dave. I could see in theory why he was considered, but once onscreen with the squealing CGI chipmunks there became many scenes where he simply didn’t connect and it became apparent that he was not “in the scene” with the rodents. Where Jason Lee’s character lacked David Crosses performance as Ian Hawke or “Uncle Ian” was maniacal enough to be the villain but funny enough to avoid really intimidating the child viewers and made a fun character that interacted well with all the cast members.
Ratings and Suggestions
Alvin And The Chipmunks was certainly no Shrek, but it did do a fair job entertaining it’s adult audience and appealing to it’s younger one. It lacked in quite a few area’s, but it’s a jesting movie that avoids the tedium many adaptations like this have suffered. The Chipmunks are worth a rental, and the rest is easily forgotten, but still lots of fun. Two out of Four stars.