Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

26 Dec

Title: Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked
Year: 2011
Director: Mike Mitchell
Writers: Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, based on the characters by Ross Bagdasarian and Janice Karman
Starring: Jason Lee, David Cross, Jenny Slate, Andy Buckley, Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney, Christina Applegate, Anna Faris, Amy Poehler, Alan Tudyk
MPAA Rating: G
Runtime: 87 min
IMDb Rating: 3.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 13%
Metacritic: 24

In 2007 the first Alvin and the Chipmunks film was pretty damn bad, but it made over $360 million. So a sequel was obviously happening, which meant that in 2009 we got Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, which was even worse but made over $440 million. So considering two extra years have passed we now get the third inevitable entry in the franchise, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, which is the worst in a bad series of films, but thankfully this one is performing at a considerably slower pace at the box office, so maybe, fingers crossed, this is the last we’ll have to see from these chipmunks.

Seriously, I can think of few films that can be so boring, that can make a short eighty-seven minute running time seem so eternal, dragging along, not even trying to be something even mediocre, but relying on truly dumb stuff because they know that very little kids will still consume it. Because, make no mistake about it, if you’re above the age of four or five there will be absolutely nothing worth seeing this one for. I mean, it’s just really badly made, as the film tells the story of our furry friends getting stranded on a deserted island and then doing whatever they can to try and find their way home only to then find out that the island’s not exactly all that deserted. One can only hope after withstanding this film that something similar will happen in real life but that the chipmunks won’t find their way out of the island and we won’t have to bear a fourth installment in the franchise.

Jason Lee as the adoptive dad of the chipmunks is back, and David Cross as the talent agent is back. And the voice actors are all back, with Justin Long, Amy Poehler and Anna Faris amongst other talented folks lending their pipes to the Chipmunks and to the Chipettes, but of course it doesn’t matter how awesome the people voicing the furry creatures are because it’s not as though the animals will look like them and the helium voices make you unable to really think “Oh, that’s Amy Poehler voicing Eleanor!” which is just as well for these actors because I’m not sure any one of them would like to be linked to such a mess of a movie.

Everything is bad here. We find out that David Cross’ character was so washed out in the music business that he could only score a gig as a cruise ship entertainer on the luxury ship the chipmunks take, which in turn means he’ll spend nearly ninety minutes in a silly pelican costume. The fact that an actor like Mr. Cross, who was (and will soon be again!) part of the insanely talented ensemble in Arrested Development, and currently headlines his own hilarious show, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, over on IFC, has subjected himself to a film like this, which pretty much kills his dignity, is truly painful to watch. Jason Lee also suffers here, but at least he’s not in a bird suit, but still, he’s becoming annoying in these films and he should just stick to roles like the recurring one he has next to an actress that voices another of the Chipettes, Christina Applegate, on NBC’s Up All Night. Every castmember of this film would be better off doing something else.

Third installments in a series of kiddie films are mostly bad, so it’s not as though Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked was a surprise on that account, but it’s still just a ridiculously bad film, no matter what. The fact that screenwriters Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger actually tried to make it about serious themes like growing up and finding your true identity is rather laughable because it’s not as though you can believe for one second that a Chipmunks movie would be able to come close to pulling that off without you laughing at it. I guess we can at least say that the new human character in this film is played by Jenny Slate (she who said “fucking” on live TV on her SNL debut), who I’m a huge, huge fan of, as she plays a girl who’s been stranded on the island for years, talking to volleyballs and such, but as awesome as Ms. Slate is, she too can’t make this one bearable.

Don’t even get me started on the music part of the film. The Chipmunks have always been known for their covers of pop hits, and that’s also the case in this film, serving up cover after cover in their squeaky voices. But the stuff in this one is just horrible, the Chipmunks and Chipettes offering their takes of Lady Gaga, Willow Smith, LMFAO and other recurring names of the Top 40 charts. The fact that I don’t like most of the regular versions of those songs has nothing to do with how appalling I found the covers by these little guys. I won’t tell you if the chipmunks get off the island in this film, but considering this is a family film you can guess the answer to that, all I know is that by the end of the film you’ll wish they had stayed there. And that a whale had come out of the sea and eaten them.

Grade: D

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