Review: 'Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip'
The fourth installment in the “Alvin and the Chipmunks” film series, “The Road Chip” is clearly targeted for teenagers rather than elementary school-age children. At the risk of sounding like Dave Seville, the Chipmunk’s guardian who yells “Alvin!” just as the little critters are starting to have fun, I give this film a thumbs down.
I attended the media screening with my friend and her little 4-year-old niece. On the one hand, it’s fun to watch the Chipmunks singing and dancing. I laughed when Alvin ate cheese balls and burped. I smiled when the Chipmunks crawled into their mini beds and snuggled under the covers. And the Chipmunks are awfully cute in their red, green and blue sweaters. But most parents will agree the storyline is reckless and irresponsible.
Suppose you took a business trip and left your children with a sitter. Would you mind if the kids used your credit card, jumped in a car and took a joyride across the country? What if they took a detour to New Orleans to party at Mardi Gras, narrowly escaping a bar brawl where they barely keep from being hit by beer bottles, all the while being on the run from federal authorities?
Sure, it’s the stuff Hollywood movies are made of. “The Road Chip” is rated PG and definitely aims to capture the attention of teenagers. There’s plenty of wild parties, breakdancing, ramp skateboarding and pizza for everyone. If the chipmunks went about their business without conflict, this movie would be boring. And most of this stuff will fly over the heads of young children. Maybe I’m one of those parents who takes things too seriously.
My friend’s 4-year-old niece loved the movie, especially when the chipmunks sang and danced. She didn’t pick up on the abandonment issues. You see, the Chipmunks suspect that Dave is planning to propose to his new girlfriend in Miami, and that he will get rid of them afterwards. The chipmunks are also bullied by Miles, the teenage son of Dave’s new girlfriend. What if he becomes their brother? Meanwhile, Miles fears being abandoned by his mom. In an attempt to stop Dave from proposing, they hightail it across country by renting a car, flying on an airplane and hitchhiking.
The movie contains mild slapstick violence, with the Chipmunks using toothpicks as a weapon to puncture the villain’s face. Some of the characters get drunk and don’t remember what happened when they awaken the next morning. That’s pretty much what gives the film a PG rating.
The “Chipettes” or girl chipmunks (Brittany, Jeanette, and Eleanor) also make an appearance and join in the singing and dancing fun.
If you’re a conservative parent, the movie’s storyline will probably cause you to raise an eyebrow. But if you liked the other chipmunk movies, you’ll probably like “The Road Chip.”
"Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip" opens nationwide in theaters Dec. 18.