ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: ROAD CHIP (USA 2015) **1/2
Directed by Walt Becker
Review by Gilbert Seah
Lots of puns in the Alvin Chipmunks movies – Chipwrecked for shipwrecked, Fast and Furry-ious for Fast and Furious and Road Chip for Road Trip. But there are no super fast cars or races nor a long road trip in the 4th instalment of the Chipmunks films, but it tries its best to cling on to past Hollywood box-office successes.
For the less demanding viewer, ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: ROAD CHIP provides satisfactory entertainment much in the same vein as the other 3 films. The lazy script, credited to no less than 4 writers does not contain much of a story.
Through a series of misunderstandings, Alvin (Justin Long), Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler) and Theodore (Jesse McCartney) come to believe that Dave (Jason Lee) is going to propose to his new girlfriend in Miami…and dump them. They have three days to get to him and stop the proposal, saving themselves not only from losing Dave but possibly from gaining a terrible stepbrother, Miles (Josh Green).
It is the same old cliched result. Dave is carrying an engagement ring for his friend. (Why he is doing this, is totally unexplained.) But Dave ends up not proposing and the misunderstanding is resolved with everything going right including the Chipmunks becoming friends with Miles. Sweetly sickening isn’t it?
The casting is also lazy. The villain in the first 3 Chipmunks films was played by David Cross from the TV series – Arrested Development. He is replaced by no other than another member of the cast from the same TV series – Tony Hale. Hale is no more than another clone to Cross. Hale plays a flight marshall, who grounds the chipmunks and wants to put them in chipmunk jail. His goofy character somehow gets the butt of the jokes.
The female Chipmunks, the Chipettes (voiced by Christina Applegate, Anna Faris and Kaley Cuoco) make a too brief appearance. But the actresses’ voices are unrecognizably wasted.
One wants the script to at least attempt something different or something more daring. But it is a thread bare script lacking in ideas or good comedy setups. What the film does contain, however is a whole lot of musical dances and songs (mainly popular ones) ranging from rap to pop to country. The animated creatures boogie to the music as do the real-life actors. The dance moves are cute enough but enough is enough.
Every critic love to complain about Alvin and the Chipmunks But everyone has forgotten how much they themselves love the little creatures when they were little. And Dave’s famous scream “Alvin!!!!!!!!!!” can be heard a few times during the film, to the audience’s amusement.
But ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: ROAD CHIP should still be a box-office success, as it is a good harmless film for the littler ones, who might not understand STAR WARS or for families not able to get tickets for it.