It is hard to believe that those singing chipmunks named Alvin, Simon, and Theodore are already on their fourth film. I must admit to being late to the chipmunk’s cinematic party. Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Road Chip, thanks to the folks at Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, was my first trip into the franchise and, to be honest, it was pretty much what I expected it to be. That is to say a film that delighted my four-year-old, but featured a story that most adults will find predictable.
The premise involves the chipmunk’s guardian/manager Dave (Jason Lee) hitting it off with single mom Samantha (Kimberly Williams-Paisley). While Alvin, Simon, and Theodore (voiced by Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, and Jesse McCartney respectively) think Samantha is great, they are not too keen on her bully of a son Miles (Josh Green). Believing that Dave is planning to propose to Samantha during a business trip to Miami, and fearful of what such a union might bring, the boys set out on a journey to stop the proposal at all costs. Along the way they cross paths with a U.S. Air Marshall, Agent Suggs (Tony Hale), who is determined to bring an end to the various hijinks that the chipmunks get themselves into.
Blending many of the tropes of the road trip genre with Parent Trap style antics, the film only offers a couple of brief moments of levity that will make parents adults laugh. Make no mistake though, this film is geared towards those ages seven or under. Much of the film’s slapstick humour involves Hale’s chipmunk obsessed Marshall bumbling his way from one improbable scenario to the next. While there are plenty of musical numbers, such as “Uptown Funk” and “Home”, to keep kids entertained, the film does not offer much in regards to true character development. Miles and Samantha are pretty thinly written, and supporting characters like Ashely Grey (Bella Thorne), a pop star whose album Dave produced, serve little purpose other than an excuse for the Chipmunks to have an impromptu jam session. Of course none of this will matter to the young ones who will no doubt eat this film up.
The blu-ray comes jam packed full of special features that will keep kids singing-along after the film ends. The highlight of which being the “Ultimate Playlist” which not only allows the viewer to shuffle through all The Road Chip musical numbers, without having to sit through the entire film, but also includes songs from the other Chipmunk movies as well. Kids will also enjoy the brief “Squeaky Wiggle” instructional dance video led by LMFAO’s Redfoo; who not only appears in the actual film, but is prominent in many of the features on the disc.
Special Features: “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Story So Far”; “Cue the Chipmunks: The Great Big Chipmunks Music Finale”; “Our Furry Planet”; “Alvinisms”; “WETA and the Chipmunks: Animators’ Reference Reel”; “Ultimate Playlist”; “Munk Rock”; “RedFoo “Squeaky Wiggle” Dance Instructional”; “After the Party: A Munk”