I’m “biast” (con): …but the most recent one was awful
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
After a detour into terribleness with their third outing, Chipwrecked, the CGI singing rodents Alvin and the Chipmunks return to form with their fourth film, Road Chip. Yes, I have seen all entries in the cinematic oeuvre of the Chipmunks — it’s not all fun and games in this film-criticism racket — so I know that there is a “usual” to them: instantly forgettable but inoffensive fluff… you know, for kids. And since “inoffensive” is better than can be said for many movies aimed at children, the Chipmunks yet again eke out a pass. This time, Alvin (the voice of Justin Long: Comet), Theodore (the voice of Jesse McCartney: Horton Hears a Who!), and Simon (the voice of Matthew Gray Gubler) hit the road from Los Angeles to Miami in order to prevent Dave (Jason Lee: Cop Out) from proposing marriage to girlfriend Samantha (Kimberly Williams-Paisley: We Are Marshall), because they’ve got it into their little squirrel heads that this means Dave will give them the boot. And also, they don’t want to be stuck with a mean stepbrother in the vile Miles (Josh Green), Samantha’s teenaged son. There’s a bit less squeaky singing this time around, though still plenty — the boys have to busk for some money for bus tickets and the like — and precisely the same number of poop and crotch-injury jokes as all the other Chipmunk movies: one apiece. (I fear that someone actually came up with an entertainment equation to account for this.) Perhaps there is a teensy bit of offensiveness in the TSA shenanigans and no-fly joke that arrive via a hapless air marshall (Tony Hale: American Ultra); let’s not acclimate our kids to the total-surveillance police state, eh? Poor, poor Jason Lee shouts “Alllllviiiiiin!” about as many times as I found myself tapping my toe to the music. There’s probably an equation to account for that, too.