These rodents won't go away
By Sean O'Connell
Friday, Dec. 16, 2011
Life's a beach for our CGI chipmunk pals as Alvin, Simon and Theodore end up stranded on a deserted island when their cruise-ship vacation goes awry and . . .
I'm sorry, is this really necessary? Let's be honest. Either you're eagerly anticipating "Chipwrecked," the third installment in the lucrative "Alvin and the Chipmunks" series, or you've opted to avoid these films like the plague. Nothing in this review will persuade a non-fan to unleash his or her inner 'munk, and no opinion put forth could possibly dissuade the substantial "Alvin" audience - and I do mean substantial - from handing over hard-earned cash to learn which dated Lady Gaga hits the singing rodents cover next.
At best, I can tell you what to expect from "Chipwrecked" so you're not completely set adrift without a rudder.
As usual, Alvin (voiced by Justin Long) remains the chipmunks' chief instigator while the three embark on an ocean-spanning trip with their beleaguered agent/parent, Dave (Jason Lee). The mischievous critter's latest prank gets his fuzzy mates - and their adorable female counterparts, the Chipettes - tied up in a parasail that carries them off the starboard side of a cruise ship and onto a tropical island that they believe to be uninhabited.
Faster than we can sing "a three-hour tour," screenwriters Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger zigzag through musty "Cast Away" jokes, stage a musical sequence to Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine's ancient dance number "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You," and establish a bizarre running joke that references Nicolas Cage's 2001 weeper, "Captain Corelli's Mandolin."
We're introduced to Zoe (Jenny Slate), a FedEx pilot who tells the chipmunks she has been stranded on the island for eight or nine years. (Hello, Tom Hanks? Castaway? Anyone?)
Just don't ask why her clothes are clean, her hair is perfect and she hasn't run out of eye makeup. And sensible chipmunk Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler) reveals a swashbuckling split personality named Simone (Alan Tudyk) after an indigenous spider injects him with neurotoxins.
Side note: Is it common knowledge that Long, currently seen on Fox's "New Girl" opposite Zooey Deschanel, voices Alvin? How about the fact that three comedic superstars lend their pipes to the Chipettes? That would be Amy Poehler, Christina Applegate and Anna Faris - extremely gifted comedians who should have their pick of better projects. Their voices are indistinguishable when cranked up to squeaky chipmunk pitch. Why bother hiring them at all?
But I digress. The "Chipmunks" have a very loyal audience - the previous two films crossed the $200 million mark at the box office, which doesn't happen by accident - and "Chipwrecked" serves up more of the derivative chaos that floats this franchise's boat. Fans will consider it an early Christmas present. Detractors will be happy to sing a different tune.
Contains nothing objectionable.