Star Wars isn’t the only billion-dollar franchise back in action this weekend as the fourth installment of 20th Century Fox’s highly successful feature films starring Alvin, Simon and Theodore hits theaters. Although not nearly as high profile, the fact remains that collectively 2007’s Alvin And The Chipmunks and sequels The Squeakquel and Chipwrecked have grossed north of a billion dollars worldwide, so another in the series, The Road Chip, was inevitable.
With the daunting task of facing Star Wars, this one from the Ross Bagdasarian universe delivers exactly the kind of no-brainer laughs, slapstick and music you would expect. But as I say in my video review above (click the link to watch), I have to admit, even though the audience for this film has heads not able to reach above the seats, I did laugh out loud on a couple of occasions, which for a live action/animation hybrid about superstar chipmunks is not half bad. This time around father-figure David Seville (Jason Lee, who can yell ALVIIIIIIIIN with the best of ’em) decides that rather than carrying on with their successful superstar music careers, the munks need to have a more normal life, so he takes them off the grid for a while. Meanwhile, he backs another pop artist Ashley (Bella Thorne) and strikes up a romantic interest in a doctor named Samantha (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) who also happens to have a teenage son Miles (Josh Green) who drives the chipmunks up a wall. When David takes Sam with him on a trip to Miami, the chipmunks surmise it is to propose and they set off to stop that, as does Miles since neither party wants to become siblings.
The best scene in the movie, if not the weirdest and most questionably timed, is at the airport where Alvin, Simon and Theodore discover they are on the “No Fly” list, along with terrorists and other undesirables. Who knew this movie could be timely? At any rate, the oddball humor displayed here and by Federal Air Marshall (Veep’s Tony Hale) in chasing them, is sort of amusing. With their flight plans derailed they, and Miles, hit the road for a cross-country trip to upset any romantic notions David might have towards Samantha. Of course, it is all bedlam, hijinks and craziness along the way. Also in and out are the female versions of these Chipmunks, the Chipettes, who have now somehow landed as the celebrity judges on American Idol (nice cross-plugging Fox).
Walt Becker directs this chaotic comedy from a script by Randi Mayem Singer (Mayhem would be a better name in this case) and Adam Sztykiel. The vocal work for the Chipmunks is provided again by Justin Long, Matthew Gray-Gubler and Jesse McCartney while the Chipettes have sitcom stars doing the honors including Katey Cuoco, Anna Faris and Christina Applegate. For the life of me though I can barely tell the difference between any of these characters voice-wise. It is all annoying shrill tones, all the time.
Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and Janice Karman are the producers. Do you plan to hit the road to see Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Road Chip? Let us know what you think.