Film: “Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Road Chip”; Director: Walt Becker; Cast: Jason Lee, Tony Hale, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Josh Green, Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse MacCartney; Rating: **1/2
“Alvin and The Chipmunks” films, which are based on anthropomorphic, strato-falsetto characters created by Ross Bagdasarian Sr which began in 2007, are a highly anticipated series. And with “The Road Chip” hitting the marquee four years after the last edition, children have been surely looking forward to it.
Directed by Walt Becker, “The Road Chip” is the fourth instalment in the film hierarchy.
It is an adventure story with the usual hyper-frantic, song and dance sequences that will appeal to its young audience.
The narration begins in Los Angeles with the three chipmunks – Alvin (Justin Long), Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler) and Theodore (Jesse MacCartney) – organising a surprise birthday party for Dave Seville (Jason Lee), their beloved surrogate father and a farewell for their friends — the three Chippettes; Brittany (Christina Applegate), Jeanette (Anna Faris) and Eleano (Kaley Cuoco).
After a series of misunderstandings, the furry heroes believe that Dave is in love with a new woman, Samantha (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), whose teenage son Miles (Josh Green) is a big bully.
When the Chipmunks begin to suspect that Dave is planning to propose to Samantha during a Miami getaway, they decide to head down and put a stop to his plans.
Helping them prevent the engagement is Miles, who has the Chipmunks believing that they’ll be side-tracked the minute Dave ties the knot.
With pee and poop humour and plenty of pop culture gags, singing, dancing and chasing along the way, there is a sub-plot of a vengefully obsessive air marshal, Agent Suggs (Tony Hale) chasing the Chipmunks that adds to this jamboree.
Combining live action and computer-generated characters, it is a fun-filled, family comedy caper, but with a relatively weak script penned by Randi Mayem and Adam Sztykiel.
While the film is enjoyable and entertaining, it is the easy resolutions of the main plot that disappoint. Also with the subplots not closed, the narration appears episodic and jerky.
On the production front, the animated characters are lovable brats – cute, cuddly and at the same time riotous. The effects are praiseworthy and well integrated into the exciting action.
The music is stimulating as it seamlessly flows into the narration.
Overall, as a “road-movie for kids”, the film is a bit of a let down, as it has barely any road in it. But an entertainer it is, nevertheless.