Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009)
Squeaky Clean Fun
Hey Ian! In the words of The Donald, "You're fired!" - Brittany
When I reviewed "Alvin and the Chipmunks" I basically said that it was fun for young children but beyond the novelty factor of mischievous singing chipmunks it had little for grown ups. And to be honest I could say the same for the squeakquel, yes squeakquel because that is what this 2nd movie calls itself "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel". It is weaker than the first movie, a big mistake was made by sidelining Jason Lee and whilst more adults are introduced it was Lee as the exasperated Dave who made the comical interactions work. But then they make up for this by introducing The Chipettes dare I say comically sexy girl chipmunks.
After Dave (Jason Lee - A Guy Thing) ends up hospitalized thanks to Alvin showing office during a gig, the mischievous chipmunk and his brother's Theodore and Simon are sent to live with Aunt Jackie (Kathryn Joosten) whilst he convalesces. Except an accident at the airport puts Aunt Jackie in hospital and so computer game junkie Cousin Toby (Zachary Levi) finds himself having to look after The Chipmunks who for the first time have to attend school. In need of funds school principal Dr. Rubin (Wendie Malick) asks the boys to perform at a singing competition with the hope of winning the grand prize, but the evil Ian (David Cross - She's the Man) plans to spoil things with his new act the Chipettes and with Alvin getting too big for his boots things certainly don't go well.
So remembering that "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" is a move made for young children to say it is cliche isn't really being critical because it is appropriately simple. We may have the story which sees Dave getting hospitalized thanks to Alvin's showing off and the trio of chipmunks sent to live with Aunt Jackie only to end up in the care of cousin Toby. But at its heart this is a story all about ego, about Alvin getting too big for his boots and learning a valuable lesson all about the importance of friends, family and loyalty.
And to be honest the storyline works, the humour of Alvin, Theodore and Simon being sent to school, dealing with sports jocks as well as Ian who tries to beat the Chipmunks with the Chipettes is full of fun little moments. And that moral message about getting too full of one self plays out in an expected and nice way whilst we watch Ian once again get taught a lesson for being nasty.
But "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" has one problem, they decided to sideline Jason Lee as David Seville and replace him with Zachary Levi as cousin Toby. It doesn't work for the simple reason that Toby isn't interested in Alvin, Theodore or Simon, he just plays computer games and the movie is missing that human interaction, the exasperation which Jason Lee delivered. As such the best moments end up being the start and end where we do have Dave and the Chipmunks together, with what goes on in between feeling lacking.
Aside from Levi not quite delivering the same connection as Lee there is Wendie Malick as school principal Dr. Rubin and Malick certainly gets a better connection with the chipmunks. Her scenes are genuinely funny especially as she is a closet Chipmunk fan. And David Cross once again comes across amusing as the comically bad Ian who tries to manipulate The Chipettes to get his revenge of the Chipmunks.
But the best thing about "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" is that it is good clean fun. In the entire movie there is one fart gag and not a crude butt burp joke but one which is family funny. And when it comes to Ian getting a taste of his own medicine there is only one moment of nut breaking comedy violence which is again family funny. It does make a change that a movie made for younger audiences is suitable for younger audiences without low end rubbish sneaking in. Although again the lack of sneaky double entendres does mean that there is little for grown ups who find themselves watching this with their young ones.
What this all boils down to is that "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" is not a bad sequel, it's squeaky clean fun which is ideal for young audiences who will enjoy the simple storyline and the chipmunks singing. But it does make the mistake of sidelining Jason Lee and his interactions are sorely missing.
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