John Hanlon Reviews

Film Reviews

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

Genre: Comedy, Action and Adventure

Director: Mike Mitchell

Cast: Jason Lee, David Cross, Jenny Slate, Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney, Amy Poehler, Anna Faris, Christina Applegate

MPAA-Rating: Rated G

Release Date: December 16th, 2011

“I don’t know how they can survive.” That’s what Dave (Jason Lee) says to his friend Ian after his beloved chipmunks are stranded on a desert island. Unfortunately, try that same sentiment can be applied to the parents and children who are forced to sit through this third installment of the Chipmunks film series. Like its predecessors, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked is a lazy exercise in children’s entertainment that should be avoided at all costs.

The story finds Alvin and the chipmunks lost on a remote island along with their friends, “The Chipettes.” They all fell off of a cruise ship while on vacation with their caregivers Dave and Ian (David Cross), the money-grubber who often takes advantage of the little creatures. On the island, the chipmunks quickly encounter a crazy explorer named Zoe (Jenny Slate) who spends her days talking to sports equipment and is pleased to have new friends with whom to talk.

The chipmunks themselves are hard to dislike. They have quirky, simplistic personalities that would work well in a better film. Alvin (voiced by Justin Long) is fun-loving but vulnerable. Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler) is nerdy and cautious. And Theodore (Jesse McCartney) is the childishly naive one. But this script doesn’t have much to do with them, and the adults in this film don’t help at all.

Both Ian and Dave are unlikable and hard to watch. As they search breathlessly for the chipmunks, their inane dialogue is hard to endure. When the duo discuss Alvin, Dave talks about how much he cares for him and his siblings. Ian protests saying, “He’s not your son, Dave. He’s just a chipmunk.” If only that were the case. The conversations between these two are rife with bad dialogue and unfunny jokes, which may leave viewers hoping that the chipmunks abandon them in their next outing.

Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, who helped write Monsters vs. Aliens, are both credited with this weak script. If the plot and the dialogue aren’t bad enough, this film is also infested with atrocious renditions of mediocre pop songs.

If watching a group of chipmunks sing “I’m a Survivor” around a camp fire is something that you’re interested in, this movie might be worth a look. For everyone else, stay away. Chipwrecked even includes scenes of the chipmunks performing Lady Gaga tunes. One hopes little children who watch this clunker won’t start listening to the pop singer after seeing how much the chipmunks enjoy her music.

Some children’s films strive to be great movies that both parents and children can enjoy. Films like Up and the Toy Story trilogy come to mind, stories families can enjoy together. But Chipwrecked, like its silly predecessors, settles for much less.

This film should be left on a desert island where it belongs.