Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked Mike Mitchell

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked Mike Mitchell
Since the first two Alvin & the Chipmunks films were little more than broad, often incoherent morality plays reliant on toilet jokes and terrifyingly gauche pop culture references relating to the crudest of mainstream pop music, yet still made hundreds of millions of dollars, there wasn't going to be much point in putting any effort or creativity into the third outing. Again, it features the chipmunks (Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney) and the Chipettes (Christina Applegate, Anna Faris and Amy Poehler) singing and dancing to blasé, catchy tunes by the likes of Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Destiny's Child, Gloria Estefan and even Willow Smith. This at least has more focus than the hokey maturity parable plot, wherein Dave (Jason Lee) and the gang wind up on a desert island. This predicament stems from a risky kite accident aboard a cruise ship, where the plucky, animated woodland creatures were inexplicably using to travel to the International Music Awards, where the Chipettes were to make an appearance. The good thing is that the isolated island locale limits the dreadful human interactions and musical numbers to the first 20 minutes of the film, wherein three feisty Latinas decide to have a dance-off with three talking chipmunks and an entire cruise ship full of people engages in a choreographed musical performance. After this unbearable nonsense, the focus shifts to the interactions between the six chipmunks, which is at least reminiscent of the original source cartoon, rarely resorting to cheap, scatological laughs. Brittany struggles to be taken seriously, while Alvin embraces responsibility in the face of Simon's hallucinatory spider bite journey of rogue id impulses, leaving Theodore to occasionally say something stupid and eat everything in sight. Some of these exchanges actually work, especially when the gang is awkwardly socializing with a stranded, crazed island inhabitant whose persona is defined by references to Cast Away. But for every cutely rendered scene of chipmunk interaction there are at least five embarrassing musical numbers and an overly goofy action sequence involving a human actor self-consciously interacting with a green screen or visual cue. It makes for painful viewing, but the constant movement and colourful scenery might appeal to very young children. The DVD supplements are minimal, focusing mostly on making the soundtrack accessible on its own, while a brief "making of" takes a comic approach to filming in Hawaii with the irresponsible chipmunks. (Fox)