Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel serves up harmless fun
Starring Zachary Levi and David Cross. Rated G. Opens Wednesday, December 23
Before discussing Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, I must confess that I’m old enough to remember the original animated series of the early ’60s.
Watch the trailer for Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.
Winning a Saturday morning cartoon slot thanks to the phenomenal success of an excruciatingly high-pitched novelty record called “The Chipmunk Song”, Alvin, Theodore, and Simon were a sort of bushy-tailed prototype for today’s less rambunctious boy bands. Even as a kid, I realized that anything that starred three glorified rodents who sounded like they’d just sucked the life out of a helium balloon had to be seriously disposable junk. But it was junk made exclusively for me, and I appreciated it up to a certain age.
I guess the formula still works: the sequel—a hopped-up blend of live action and CGI courtesy of veteran director Betty Thomas—is the follow-up to the Chipmunks’ big-screen debut, a kid-friendly hit that turned out to be one of the surprise cash cows of 2007. Say what you will, but these three nut hoarders have legs.
The Squeakquel finds our boys in the temporary care of a klutzy relative (Zachary Levi). Their regular guardian (My Name Is Earl’s Jason Lee, who contributes little more than a cameo this time around) is stuck in the hospital. Meanwhile, our trio has to contend with life in high school, a rival band of girl chipmunks known as the Chipettes, and the underhanded manoeuvrings of their sleazy ex-manager (David Cross of Arrested Development).
If there’s anything mildly inappropriate, it’s that the Chipettes seem unnecessarily sexualized. (Their lead singer is named Brittany and has moves that would never have made it onto Saturday-morning TV back in the ’60s.) Still, it’s mostly harmless fun. If your kid is around six or so, they’re sure to laugh in all the right places.