Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel ***
When Alvin and the Chipmunks was released two years ago no one expected much from it, many self respecting film fans in fact dreading it. However, the film proved to be a huge surprise hit at the box office so a sequel received the immediate green light. And parents, you only have yourselves to blame now that you are being subjected to Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel – just the word Squeakquel will probably be enough to fill film fans with dread once again. Seriously though, the first film, whilst being rather irritating to accompanying adults wasn’t THAT bad really. It kept the kids entertained, possibly took some parents on a nostalgia trip and was far from being one of the most unbearable kids films that parents have ever had to endure. But does the sequel manage to repeat this feat, a feat which was quite impressive considering the film’s stars were singing chipmunks whose voices are enough to irritate even the most hardened of moviegoers? Not quite, but it still manages to avoid being too irritating, so that’s something.
When their adopted father Dave Seville (Jason Lee) is hospitalised, loveable singing rodents Alvin (voiced by Justin Long), Simon (voiced by Matthew Gray Gubler) and Theodore (voiced by Jesse McCartney) find themselves with a new human minder in the form of Dave’s twenty-something nephew Toby (Zachary Levi) and heading back to the high school classroom like regular kids. There they must save the school’s music programme by winning the $25,000 top prize in a battle of the bands. But first they have to tackle a host of new challenges such as peer pressure, school sports and girls – namely Brittany (voiced by Christina Applegate), Eleanor (voiced by Amy Poehler) and Jeanette (voiced by Anna Faris), aka rival musical trio ‘The Chipettes’. Sneaky manager Ian Hawke (David Cross) is determined to wreak revenge on his former clients The Chipmunks by making the girls the Next Big Thing. Can the two groups overcome their personal and music differences?
As you would expect after the first Alvin and the Chipmunks film The Squeakquel just delivers more of the same. So, from a technical stand point, this film, just like its predecessor, has very little to offer. The plot, or what passes for plot, is wafer thin, existing only to provide a link between the film’s events and the scriptwriting is never more than passable. The performances from the film’s human cast are equally as unimpressive. Jason Lee is relegated to the sidelines this time around, only appearing in a few scenes and then given hardly anything to actually do. In his place is Zachary Levi, from TV’s Chuck, who is an amusing addition to the cast but too is completely wasted in a role that makes no use of his talents. Also wasted are Wendie Malick as school principal Dr Rubin and David Cross who again fails to make an impression as the villain of the piece. Much of this is not the fault of the cast though but rather the writers who give the cast nothing of note to do, not that the target audience will care, as the real stars are The Chipmunks and The Chipettes, who are better than their human counterparts thanks to some good voice work from a (rather unnecessarily) starry voice cast. With such criticisms for the film you would probably wonder why give it three stars? Well, for all its faults this is, at least, a film that will keep the kids happy. The Chipmunks and The Chipettes are totally adorable computer creations and the numerous song performances by each of the groups are lively and fun. This time around, however, none of the songs are the original Chipmunks tunes from the 1950s but rather quite fun cover versions of popular songs from the last year, including ‘Hot N Cold’ and ‘You Spin Me Round’ among others. As for the humour, the film largely delivers on the same level as the first film. The gags are all clean and harmless and kids will probably find it quite hilarious, although parents less so. There are, however, a few movie in-jokes that, while not being particularly smart or inventive, some older viewers may get some appreciation out of. So, overall Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel is a film that kids will love and parents should be able to be endure. And given the lack of choice for films to take the kids too at the moment parents should be grateful that this film offers simple, harmless fun that the kids will love.
Review by Robert Mann BA (Hons)
© BRWC 2010.
We hope you're enjoying BRWC. You should check us out on our social channels, subscribe to our newsletter, and tell your friends. BRWC is short for battleroyalewithcheese.