Nuts to Chipwrecked

Alvin and friends deserve better.

The creation of Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked probably went something like this: come up with the awful wordplay of the title, then build a half-assed movie around it with no regard for quality or entertainment value. That would explain this terrible children’s movie, which provides as good an example as you’ll find of cynical, crude filmmaking.

To get the featured characters stranded on an island, Dave, his Chipmunks and the Chipettes are required to vacation on a luxury ship cruise. While aboard, we are treated to an “Oh no, you DIDN’T!” dance-off between the Chipettes and three stuck-up women in clubwear, each shaking their groove thangs to Miami Sound Machine’s “Conga,” (thus hitting the trifecta of annoying characters in an annoying premise during an annoying song). It may not get much worse from there, but it doesn’t get a whole lot better.

When the Chipmunks get into mischief that takes them off the ship, Dave naturally decides that hang gliding is the best way to commence a rescue. Eventually, all the major players land on a tiny, deserted island.

Prior to living with Dave, Alvin and his buddies survived just fine in the woods. But on the island, they fret about, wondering how they’re going to stay warm and make shelter — the very skills you’d expect they’d have, and which would have allowed them to humorously show up the humans out of their element.

Jason Lee (My Name is Earl) returns for his third appearance as the Chipmunks’ daddy/manager Dave Seville, and his boredom with this sad enterprise shows. Also back is David Cross (Mr. Show With Bob and David), who is relegated to a chicken suit for all but one scene.

Here’s what else your ticket will buy you:

— Two Chipmunk covers of Lady Gaga songs

—Fat jokes at Theodore’s expense

—Two side orders of mental illness. A plonk on the head turns Simon into a fearless French adventurer. Another island inhabitant (Jenny Slate, formerly of SNL) intentionally crashed her delivery plane 10 years prior so she could find its treasure. Island life’s been good to her physically, as she looks fresh as a daisy. But in addition to the cool contraptions she’s put together to survive, she’s also invented quite a few imaginary “friends.”

I can’t imagine this is what Chipmunk creator Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. had in mind when he first introduced his three high-pitched charmers back in 1958. You can take the film’s same basic premise and come up with a better story in about the time it took to read this review.

Scroll to read more Events & Film articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.