Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel

PLOT:

During the Chipmunks’ benefit concert in Paris, Dave Seville (Jason Lee) suffers a severe injury, when Alvin (Justin Long) jumps on top of a scaffolding and a falling billboard sends Dave flying across the stage into some electric devices. After the accident, he is rushed to the hospital. Although he survives, he must stay for a few days to recover, so he leaves his lazy 21-year-old cousin Toby (Zachary Levi) and Aunt Jackie (Kathryn Joosten) in charge of the Chipmunks until he returns. Prior to the event, Dave had made arrangements for Alvin, Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler), and Theodore (Jesse McCartney) to go to school. But, at the airport, Aunt Jackie falls down some stairs and an airport luggage trolley crashes into her. She has to go to the hospital too, so Toby is left in charge. Little does Dave know, on their first day at school, the Chipmunks feel uncomfortable with all the bullies around, when Ryan, one of the bullies, gives Simon a swirlie. The boys have fun being babysat by Toby, mainly because he is basically a big kid himself. Theodore tries to bond with Toby but Toby is always either ignoring him or being short towards him.

Meanwhile, Ian Hawke (David Cross) the greedy soundtrack-editor now lives in the basement of Jett Records. But, a FedEx mail comes to the building and a package falls out. And, three singing female chipmunks, The Chipettes, Brittany (Christina Applegate), Jeanette (Anna Faris), and Eleanor (Amy Poehler) come out of the package, and introduce themselves. Brittany says that since Ian made the Chipmunks stars, they want to be stars too. So they sing “Put Your Records On” to make Ian adopt them. He does, telling them that the Chipmunks ran away from him, spat on him, and left him broken-hearted, to make the Chipettes not trust them. He lets the Chipettes stay in his apartment (in actuality, breaking into a model suite) and have their own dressing mirrors. Meanwhile, the Chipmunks enter the school concert to win $25,000 and save the school’s music program. The tension between Alvin and Simon continues to build as Alvin hangs out with the jocks of the school, but the one who is most affected is Theodore who believes he is losing his brothers with them fighting all the time. The Chipmunks meet the Chipettes and fall in love, until they discover they’re with Ian. The Chipettes sing “Hot N Cold” to get Dr. Rubin (Wendie Malick), the school principal to enter them in the contest. The Chipmunks and the Chipettes compete against each other in a Battle of the Bands. Alvin warns Brittany about what Ian did to him and his brothers, but she doesn’t believe Alvin. Alvin then humiliates Simon in front of everyone when he tells one of the jocks to trick him into thinking he’s now the school Litter Moniter and Simon ends up being thrown into the dumpster. Meanwhile, Ian gives Eleanor some platform shoes, telling her to “work on being taller.” At the concert, the Chipettes sing “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).” Eager to get rich, Ian videotapes the Chipettes performance and posts it on YouTube, along with his phone number. The Chipettes win after Simon and Theodore forfeit the competition because Alvin failed to show up (he hung out with the football team instead). Finally, Alvin shows up only to see that everyone’s gone. Brittany says to Alvin that he doesn’t care about anyone but himself and that she never wanted to win the way Ian was making her. When Alvin returns home, Simon and Theodore pretend they’re sleeping and ignore him. The embarrassment is too much for Theodore to take who runs away to the zoo, hoping to live with the meerkats, after seeing Meerkat Manor. When Toby and the boys find him and save him from an eagle, it brings out the best in all of them and the Chipmunks all forgive each other and go back to “One for all, and three for one”. (As Theodore put it)

Soon, the Chipettes are hired as the opening act at a Britney Spears concert at the Staples Center. Jeanette says the concert is on the same night as the school concert, so Ian decides to blow off the battle and make the Chipettes perform at the concert. However, since he focuses on Brittany the most, he wants her to perform onstage alone while Jeanette and Eleanor sing backup. Brittany refuses to sing without her sisters, so Ian threatens to barbecue them at a restaurant if they don’t. At the school, Alvin gets a phone call from Brittany, saying that she and her sisters have been locked in a cage. Alvin races to save them on his red motorbike while Simon tells Jeanette how to open the cage on the phone. The Chipettes escape from the cage, climb out of the limo, and they jump onto Alvin’s motorbike. (Digger, from NASCAR on FOX, makes a cameo during the chase) While being chased, Brittany apologizes to Alvin for not listening to him about Ian. Ian pursues them with a R.C. helicopter, but they leap off the motorbike and grab onto the helicopter. Jeanette snatches the remote and steers the helicopter away from Ian, while the motorbike drives straight into Ian’s groin. Simon and Theodore are about to forfeit the concert again, but Alvin and the Chipettes fly into the hall on the helicopter and they all sing “We Are Family”. Dave then comes back and watches them perform, along with Toby. Meanwhile, Ian pathetically dresses up as Brittany, performing in the center alone while people boo him, while the Chipmunks and Chipettes sing “Shake Your Groove Thing”. Finally, the Chipmunks go back home with Dave, while Toby goes back home. The Chipettes are re-adopted at the boy’s request and sleep at the Chipmunks’ house where Dave has another injury, tripping over Alvin’s skateboard and he yells the famous line “ALVIN!” As the credits roll, the screen shows photos of the Chipmunks and Chipettes at the beach, at Christmas, in the kitchen, in the garden, and with Aunt Jackie. An epilogue shows Ian being thrown into a dumpster backstage by the guards.

REVIEW:

Alvin & the Chipmunks surprised everyone when it was released and became such a huge hit. Even more surprising was the news that they were making a sequel. Obviously, the only reason you would bother to make a sequel is to bring in the Chippettes, but they aren’t a big enough reason to make an unnecessary sequel. At least they aren’t big enough to have a theatrical release.

I went into this expecting either something as good or better than the original or far worse. Unfortunately, I got the latter.

Let’s get the good stuff out of the way. It’s obvious that the CG people have honed their craft a bit more as Alvin and the boys look a bit more refined. The Chippettes were a good addition as characters, and so was Toby. David Cross returns as Ian, so we don’t get a new villain, and we see what happened to him after the boys escaped. The characteristics of each of the chipmunks was more prevalent this time around. Also, if you’ve ever sen the cartoon (preferably the 80s version), then you will notice that the chipmunks seemed to be more on par with those versions of themselves, especially in the school. Most importantly, this is more of a chipmunks movie, rather than Dave with Alvin & the Chipmunks. Jason Lee got to scream “ALVIN!” more in this picture, which is more or less what the point of Dave was.

Now, the bad. Poor Jason Lee, as someone in a review I rad earlier said, he seems to be in pain while he’s on-screen, and I’m not talking about the pain DAve is feeling after all the accidents he has. No wonder he’s barely in this one. Speaking of barely in the film, why did they go through all the trouble of bringing in brilliant comedic actress Kathryn Joosten, for what amounts to a cameo? It made no sense to me. While I’m on the casting topic…the chipmunks and chippettes are all big name actors/actresses…except for Simon…but you can’t tell by listening to them, so really, what’s the point? Theodore is supposed ot be the cute one, that’s fine and dandy, but at times it was a bit too much. Ian’s berating of Elanor for being short was uncalled for. I half expected him to say she needed to lose weight while he was at it, which would have totally been out of line. Like I said about the last film, Alvin needs his hat!!!!

Musically, there are ups and down. The first film brought us songs from the past and present, whereas this one stayed with current songs, mostly. Nothing wrong with that, as the chipmunk cartoons I watched growing up used mostly modern tunes, but I just wished they would have gone old school a bit more. Sure, they’re trying to appeal to the younger crowd and all, but some of us older folks are fans, too.

The film gets an A+ for brining to the forefront the topic of budget cuts costing schools their music programs. However, it doesn’t really deliver on that topic, just like they don’t really go into Toby crush on Julie. /both are barely hinted on until pivotal moments. What a waste!

Alright, let’s face the facts, if you’re going to see Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, you’re not expecting anything like Citizen Kane, but if you’re like me, you do expect the filmmakers to at least show us why they felt the need to make a sequel..er…squeakquel, other than to just milk money out of chipmunk fans past, present, and future. The fact of the matter is, though, that they just don’t accomplish that feat, when all is said and done. If not for the underlying, and underemphasized, note of saving the music program, this would probably be getting a lower rating from me. Yes, there are some good parts, but I think the bad outweighs the good. My suggestion is to save your money until it comes out on DVD. Personally, I won’t be rushing out to buy it, but probably will eventually get it, because of my chipmunk loyalty. Still, I was highly disappointed, especially when the first film was so great.

3 out of 5 stars

One Response to “Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel”

  1. Christina Hildebrand Says:

    i miss the animated 80s version!

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