Director: Walt Becker
Cast: Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Bella Thorne, Jesse McCartney, Jason Lee, Tony Hale, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Eddie Steeples, Christina Applegate, Kaley Cuoco, Anna Faris, Jennifer Coolidge
Runtime: 1 hr 33 mins
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Official Website: http://www.foxmovies.com/movies/alvin-and-the-chipmunks-the-road-chip
Opening Day: 24 December 2015
Synopsis: Through a series of misunderstandings, Alvin, Simon and Theodore come to believe that Dave is going to propose to his new girlfriend in New York City…and dump them. They have three days to get to him and stop the proposal, saving themselves not only from losing Dave but possibly from gaining a terrible stepbrother.
For the uninitiated, Hollywood likes to call it counter programming. Since 20th Century Fox is no longer clinging on to a lucrative Star Wars distribution deal, it just has to make do with a fourth rodent outing to deal with the awaken force. It doesn’t cost a whole chunk of money and it already has an established audience. The answer is why not.
The Ross Bagdasarian Sr’s creations received yet another unwarranted live-action outing with recurring characters and an ultra familiar story under the direction of Walt Becker (Wild Hogs, Old Dogs). The experience probably is so awful or harmful to their credentials that none of the instalments have the same director so good luck to Becker.
Jason Lee who obviously needs the fat paycheck after the end of My Name is Earl returns as Dave, the guardian of Alvin (Justin Long), Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler) and Theodore (Jesse McCartney). When the chipmunks discover that Dave is pursuing a new romantic interest in the form of Samantha (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), the trio starts to hatch plans to sabotage it. But this time Alvin has an opponent to deal with that is Samantha’s equally obnoxious teenage son, Miles (Josh Green).
Basically the entire franchise worked on three bullet points. The first being unleashing catastrophes mayhem, second being toilet jokes and the last introducing plenty of energetic song numbers. With these points to work on, Becker indeed has dutifully discharged his duty. The movie opens with a loud birthday party that went wrong. Not long after, we have the chipmunks being chased by a crazy air marshal played by Tony Hale from Arrested Development. Then it’s back to more loud music number in the New Orleans French Quarter and Miami.
With a title liked Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, you know the boys are going to get into one trouble after another during the road trip before realizing Dave is not going to abandon them. It’s a theme that was mentioned in the original and how many times must Dave prove to the boys that they are one family after all. In other words, the writers and producers behind the series have ran out of ideas to make a heartwarming tale of singing chipmunks and instead they cranked out more Chipmunk version of contemporary pop songs liked Uptown Funk to distract the bored adults.
If you are looking for Chipettes action then you will be disappointed to learn that they only appear briefly because they are off doing judging duties for American Idol. Likely too busy doing voicework on the acclaimed Inside Out, Amy Poehler who voiced Eleanor is out of this instalment (as if it makes a lot of difference) and also David Cross who plays crooked record executive Ian Hawke for the past three entries. The only consolation is watching Jennifer Coolidge playing Dave’s wacky neighbor. Those old enough will know she is from the American Pie series. Eye wink.
We honestly thought the original was quite an entertaining sentimental tale but it seems like Fox has squander whatever goodwill the first has built up. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip once again repeats the same old formula with the squeaky-voiced chipmunks doing the usual irritable gags and song numbers. Nothing more, nothing less.
(Harmless fun for the younger kids. Fatal for the adults.)
Review by Linus Tee