I can’t believe I’m attempting this but I’m going to give you, my readers, a review for Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Road Chip, the third (yes, third) sequel to the 2007 adaptation of the classic cartoon. Jason Lee is back again, hopefully being paid well enough to endure being Dave Seville again and again, but it is severely lacking David Cross, who, I guess, passed on this film much like Jenny Slate should have passed on Chipwrecked, the last Chipmunks film. She did Obvious Child, an amazingly great comedy film last year for those who don’t know who I’m talking about. I digress from my current point though which is this movie could have used David Cross to keep me interested.
Now, the immediate question is why does Fox keep making these films. The first film was made for $60 million and grossed $361 million, so it’s easy to say they clamboured to make a sequel. The Squeakquel introduced the Chipettes at a price tag of $70 and made $443. Holy crap. The bankability of these ageless critters is going up! Let’s put them on a boat for $80 million this time in Chipwrecked. Well, that one made a return of $342, so maybe there’s a little bubble on this experiment but still enough of a gain for them to keep continuing. The singing chipmunks are still damn lucrative, so now we get the latest film The Road Chip for, I’m assuming roughly the same cost.
So, what is this one all about? The film starts off with some hijinx worked out so Dave can scream his catchphrase “Alviiiiin!” because Alvin has organized a massive party at his house, under the pretense of a surprise party for Dave. Within this party montage we get the Chipmunks and Chipettes singing and dancing to a song performed by the party’s entertainment, the Muppet looking guy from LMFAO, Red Foo. Dave has one of those “I can’t trust you Chipmunks alone” speeches, setting up our trust issues for the duration of the movie. Again. This is Alvin’s perpetual storyline.
The plot of the movie then presents itself. Dave is going on a trip from L.A. to Miami for the release of a record he produced for a pop star (Bella Thorne). For his plus one, Dave tells the Chipmunks that he’s bringing his new girlfriend (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) with him and they’re going to have to stay at home with teenager son, Miles (Josh Green), who also bullies them behind Dave’s back. Before he leaves on the trip, the Alvin comes across an engagement ring and comes to the conclusion that Dave is going to propose. The Chipmunks form a shaky alliance with Miles and head on a trip to stop the proposal.
As you can assume road trip hijinx ensue including testicle trauma, toilet humor and more. There’s also a completely puzzling cameo from director John Waters including a shot at Pink Flamingos that made me shake my head. Why, John, why? As for the antagonist of the film, stepping in for David Cross’s Uncle Ian is another Arrested Development alum, Golden Globe nominee Tony Hale playing James Suggs, an air marshall looking to take the Chipmunks down because of a personal vendetta. It’s funny that Hale isn’t the lone award nominee as Orange Is The New Black’s Uzo Aduba playing a TSA agent in a completely forgettable paycheque bit.
This film is completely just made to grab that family movie crowd’s money. Not much attention is paid to the plot or characters but they do give a very daddy issues style message to the film. I can almost see the meeting room for the development of this movie, the executives screaming at the writer “Goddamnit Adam, I don’t care about the freaking plot! What songs are they going to sing?” This film feels that shoveled together but I really expected no less.
To get a little personal, brought my three year old daughter to this as her very first movie in theatres and she loved it. I know, her opinion doesn’t matter for much but if your goal is to occupy your kids for an hour and a half then The Road Chip will do the trick but may make you regret life decisions or wish you were doing taxes. Although, because it was enough to entertain my daughter at her first film, I feel lenient to give it an extra star. Alvin ans the Chipmunks gets a two out of five.