Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel film review: paltry pipsqueaks
If Hollywood has a tendency to sexually objectify young women, what about its new found tendency to sexually objectify singing chipmunks? Shouldn’t somebody be speaking out against this? Where are you, Christian lobby groups? Where are you, animal rights advocates? Where are you, um, Chipmunk Appreciation Society?
In Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel our diminutive eponymous protagonist goes to high school, hangs out with jocks, joins the football team, impresses the cool chicks and dazzles hordes of screaming young appreciators with new-fangled squeaky-voiced versions of classic hits – you know, those timeless era-defining tunes, like Beyonce’s Single Ladies. All together now, in your highest and whiniest voices imaginable, times infinitey: if you liked it you should have put a ring on it. Yeah if you liked it you shoulda put a ring on it…
To make matters spicier the three Chipmunks – that’s Alivin, Simon and Theodore, for all you Chipmunk noobs – now have prospective love interests. Their mirror-image female equivalents, dubbed Chipettes, arrive on the scene starstruck and hungry to spend some alone time.
The Chipette’s maniacal manager Ian – played by Arrested Development’s David Cross, reprising his role in the original – envisions big things for the new trio, especially leading Chipette Brittany (voice of Chrstina Applegate). In one scene when the Chipettes are rehearsing on top a piano Ian interrupts them and hold his hands in front of his face, his left and right hand obscuring his vision of all but Brittany and exclaims “oh yeah, that’s the stuff I like!”
It’s about then I start to feel very uncomfortable, like I should be running home to mum and dobbing on this strange man and his unnatural affections.
Sadly the best part of the original movie – Jason Lee – is more or less absent in the sequel, his character, the Chipmunks’s manager Dave, sidelined in hospital after an on stage accident caused by Alvin’s insatiable vanity. This is an effective way for Lee to pick up a pay cheque while also disappearing into the background, hanging elusively around the story’s peripheries, never to be a prime target for blame if the movie turns out to be a stinker. Which it most certainly is.
Director Betty Thomas, who is well-schooled in the arena of *shudder* comedies (i.e. Doctor Dolittle, I Spy, The Brady Bunch Movie) can’t resist a good whack of product placement: the Chipmunks use iPhones, play Nintendo Wii, and, more ambitiously, attempt to revive the career of Just Shoot Me star Wendie Malick.
The Chipmunks-in-class plotline is window dressing for a simple well-flogged message about being loyal to your pals, not sacrificing your values for the cool kids a yada yada. The vast majority of gags crash and burn, mostly cringe-bad slapstick, like people falling down stairs and collapsing in various allegedly hilarious ways. A final chase involving a toy motorcycle and a remote control helicopter is the standout scene, though that’s not saying much.
For what it’s worth allow me to definitively state, on the record, that Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel is not as good as the original, though writing that sentence makes me feel like a small part of me has died. Perhaps the most distinct feature of the movie – and this must appeal only to the criminally insane, or perhaps just insane, or maybe just the criminal – is the squeaky-voiced revamps of some of the worst songs of the last decade.
So one more time (forgive me father, for I have sinned), just for the hell of it: if you liked it you should have put a ring on it. Yeah if you liked it you shoulda put a ring on it…
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Australian theatrical release date: December 26, 2006