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In addition to the successful movie franchise, the contemporary incarnation of Alvin and the Chipmunks has also pretty much established that critics are never going to show it any love.
That being the case, if the true gauge of a worthy sequel is consistency, then it would be fair to say that Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked is every bit as frantic, frenetic, groan-inducing and all around grating as its two predecessors.
From the p.o.v. of its targeted young audiences (it’s G-rated, as opposed to those prior PG ratings) it should handily do the trick at the holiday box office, although it still would have been nice if they could have made a slight effort to instill the Ross Bagdasarian Sr. characters with a modicum of charm and inventiveness.
The plot, if you could call it that, has Alvin, Simon and Theodore (again provided by the sped-up voices of Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney) wreaking havoc aboard a luxury liner, much to the eternal chagrin of their “dad” Dave (a contractually sincere but nevertheless embarrassed-looking Jason Lee).
Once again Alvin’s shenanigans lead to no good—in this case landing all the ‘Munks and Chipettes (the returning Amy Poehler, Anna Faris and Christina Applegate, although good luck telling their characters apart) on a remote island with an active volcano and a crazed fortune hunter (former SNL cast-member Jenny Slate).
They’re soon joined by Dave and the ever-conniving Uncle Ian (David Cross) who spends the entire film stuck in a pelican suit.
While incoming director Mike Mitchell (Shrek Forever After) admittedly keeps the ‘Munks moving at a chipper clip, the script by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger — they also penned the Squeakquel — settles for well-worn pop culture references (James Bond, Cast Away) and wince-worthy puns, like “You can follow me on Critter.”
At least there’s a glimmer of inspiration in some of those song choices.
Aside from sampling recent hit offerings from Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and LMFAO, the film actually mines a bit of humor by having the marooned Chipettes singing defeated, a cappella snippets of Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” and The Go-Go’s “Vacation.”
Remarkably The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle didn’t make the cut.
Opens: Friday, Dec. 16 (20th Century Fox)
Production companies: Fox 2000 Pictures, Regency Enterprises
Cast: Jason Lee, David Cross, Jenny Slate, Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney, Amy Poehler, Anna Faris, Christina Applegate.
Director: Mike Mitchell
Screenwriters: Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger
Executive producers: Karen Rosenfelt, Arnon Milchan, Neil Machlis, Steve Waterman
Producers: Janice Karman, Ross Bagdasarian
Director of photography: Thomas Ackerman
Production designer: Richard Holland
Music: Mark Mothersbaugh
Costume designer: Alexandra Welker
Editor: Peter Amundson
Rating: G, 87 minutes.
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