Alvin and the Chipmunks Squeakquel review

            The first Alvin and the Chipmunks film was a surprising success, financially especially. The squeaky pop-singing CGI rodents may have appealed to the younger audience members more than the adults, but having Jason Lee as Dave and David Cross as the villainous record executive, Ian. While both return in this “squeakquel,” Lee has a role which is little more than a cameo and Cross is only around for cheap and silly laughs. His willingness to sacrifice dignity to make children laugh would be much more enjoyable if the material were fitting his dedication.

            In an attempt to duplicate the success in the casting of the first film, casting Jason Lee while he was fresh off of his success with “My Name is Earl,” the second film puts “Chuck” star Zachary Levi in the lead human role. Levi is Toby, a distant relative of Dave that gets stuck with the chipmunks when Dave is injured by the careless nature of Alvin. Along with this major cast swap, there are some strange and expected plot developments that follow.

Predictably, the addition of The Chipettes gives the casting opportunity to duplicate the voice choices for The Chipmunks. Why this matters at all is a mystery to me, especially considering the actors are unrecognizable beneath the vocal adjustments to make them all squeaky. Actors Justin Long (Alvin), Matthew Gray Gubler (Simon) and Jesse McCartney (Theodore) are joined by actresses Amy Poehler (Eleanor), Anna Faris (Jeanette), and Christina Applegate (Brittany). The musical performances, if you can call them that, are mostly done by The Chipettes. Part of the plot has the Chipmunks in a dispute with each other, all a part of the strange storyline that the film takes.

For some inexplicable reason, other than the writer’s block which occurred when studio executives insisted on a sequel to the successful first, The Chipmunks are sent to high school in Dave’s absence. There is no reason why rock star chipmunks would need to go to high school, but it provides many more genre clichés for the writers to shove into the script. Alvin becomes a jock and a bully to his brothers, which causes a rift that allows The Chipettes to become more successful, but it is all just white noise.

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