Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel- No. Just… Just No. No.
Some ideas are just bad. Alvin and the Chipmunks, as a short-length cartoon, is an innocuous enough idea. The first Alvin and the Chipmunks movie acting as a combination of music industry satire and scatological humor was a really bad idea, and naturally was a huge success with children whose brains haven’t developed enough to understand wit. Now, here we are again, milking the same dried-up cow. As is a pre-requisite with sequels, audiences want more, so the Squeakuel gives them more– more scatalogical humor (an extended Dutch Oven joke in a kid’s film? really?), more people falling over (I counted six), and more helium-inhaled voices to annoy you for ninety minutes. It’s sure to be a big hit. Afterward, I felt like I’d taken a big hit.
The film begins with a big charity event where Alvin, Simon, and Theodore are performing You Really Got Me. It’s creepy from the get go that these chipmunks are singing songs about wanting to sleep with women, but I digress. Alvin accidentally breaks most of Dave (Jason Lee)’s bones with an accident that sends him soaring across the stage into an explosion. Tee hee! They have to go stay with their Aunt Jackie and cousin Toby (Zachary Levi from TV’s Chuck), when Toby accidentally pushes Aunt Jackie down the stairs in her wheelchair. Again, tee hee! Now, the Chipmunks are stuck with Toby, who wants to do nothing but play video games/promote XBox and the Wii to children who are watching this movie. Meanwhile, they go to high school where jocks pick on Simon and Theodore but accept Alvin into their circle. Family conflict ensues. Meanwhile, the evil music exec Ian Hawk (David Cross) from the last film has found his way back to the top– a group of female singing chipmunks called The Chipettes who FedExed themselves from their tree to Los Angeles (does this tree have a FedEx nearby? Can they Google famous washed-up former music execs from the tree? Sadly, the movie never divulges these details).
Alvin and the Chipmunks, once animated on paper instead of computers, have never had dimension added to their personalities in the transition between mediums. The Chipettes are the same, except they seem to be more sexual than the Chipmunks, which makes them more despicable in my book. They sing a song by Beyonce, wiggling their little chipmunk pelvises in time, while the Chipmunks growl and stare starry-eyed. It’s merely coincidence that they fall in love with their perfect counterparts. The stars fall in love, the glasses-wearing nerds fall in love, and the fat ones fall in love. They look so similar and their talents are so similarly unique that I’m certain in Alvin and the Chipmunks 3, it will be revealed they were actually siblings the whole time. The final song in the film is “We Are Family,” sung by both trios. Coincidence?
Some people might have fun watching David Cross and Zachary Levi earning a paycheck while wildly bumbling and mugging, but other than that, there is nothing that anyone over the mental age of 5 could possibly be amused by here. Multiple references to older films that kids can’t possibly get (including one in which Alvin does the “You talkin’ to me?” bit from Taxi Driver, which I can only imagine has Martin Scorsese contemplating suicide) are here for literally no reason, since no sane adult would look to this film for amusement. It takes children’s cartoon characters, makes them into 3D computer animated ideas of what some people might call cute (chipmunks with human teeth are perhaps the most frightening character design anyone north of the 7th Circle of Hell could have conjured), and proceeds to sexualize them and have them speak in slang phrases like, “Pound the paw!” and “Shake what your mama gave ya!” Unfortunately, since these films make boatloads of money by irresponsible parents who don’t instill a sense of taste in the children from birth, it is almost certain there will be a third film. I saw the Squeakuel. I pray to God I don’t have to see the Shrillogy.
Note: the Chipmunks AND Chipettes are voiced by celebrities such as Justin Long, Jesse McCartney, Amy Poehler, Anna Faris, and Christina Applegate. Why? Their voices are totally unrecognizable. You could get strangers off the street, pay them minimum wage, and have literally the exact same effect.