Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

Alvin and the Chimpunks: The Squeakuel


Review by Mark David Campbell

If a movie makes x amount of dollars, it will generate a sequel.  Now, x can vary greatly, but it’s an almost universal constant that most movies that generate sequels don’t really need them.  It’s just the studio trying to capitalize on the flavor of the month, cranking out the second chapter and thereby creating a “franchise”.  Did we really NEED another Alvin and the Chipmunks film?  Well, if you ask my young daughter, the answer would be an unqualified “yes”.  And I am assuming that it is for her and millions of kids like her that The Squeakuel was made.

As a parent, I have become an expert at putting my game face on while watching the most mind-numbing crap.  It’s obvious that some films were not meant for me to enjoy, but I don’t want to give my daughter the impression that I’m anything but stoked for any film that she wants to see.  (Rachel, if you ever read this review, I hope you’re old enough to understand the nature of things.)

About the only thing I thoroughly enjoyed about the first Alvin movie was David Cross’s portrayal of smarmy manager Ian, whose career went down the drain at the end of the first film.  Now, he is apparently out to seek revenge on our furry heroes, and it will come in the form of a new singing group, consisting of three female CGI chipmunks, collectively known as the Chipettes – Eleanor (Amy Poehler), Jeanette (Anna Faris) and Brittany (Christina Applegate).

The six rodents meet while attending a mostly-human high school, and though a rivalry is destined to be created, a certain amount of awkwardness is also generated.  The Chipmunks’ hapless owner, Dave (Jason Lee) is absent for most of the film, having been injured in an accident, leaving his charges in the care of Toby (Zachary Levi), a slacker who seems to be only interested in playing video games.

So there’s your movie:  high-school hijinks, teenage pseudo-romance, a battle of the bands, and many sped-up, high-pitched renditions of past and current pop hits.  Same old, same old.  My daughter loved the music, of course, and it was definitely the highlight, because to tell the truth, most of the human actors gave me the definite vibe that they were there just for the paycheck.  And that’s sad.

One thing’s for sure – if Alvin and the Gang 3 comes down the pike in a few years, I am going to stick the wife with movie duty.  I really don’t know if I can take any more.

2 / 5 stars

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