Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip movie review: born to be mild

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Alvin and the Chipmunks The Road Chip yellow light

Instantly forgettable but inoffensive fluff… you know, for kids. And “inoffensive” is better than can be said for many movies aimed at children.
I’m “biast” (pro): didn’t hate two of the three previous installments…

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.

See also my #WhereAreTheWomen rating of Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip for its representation of girls and women.

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