Movie Review: "Alvin and the Chipmunks"
MPAA Rating: PG for some mild rude humor.
Recommend for ages 4 and up.
Run Time: 92 minutes
Head's Up: Kids and parents will love this new take on these vintage characters.
"Alvin and the Chipmunks" is an animated, kid-friendly version of "Behind the Music," telling the story of how the talented and lovable Chipmunks were discovered and rose to fame. The whole family will enjoy the tale of the unlikely pop group's ascendance, as so many have since these characters were created half a century ago.
Aspiring songwriter David Seville, played by TV's Jason Lee, finds his lucky break when he discovers three orphaned chipmunks who happen to talk and sing. Justin Long voices Alvin, the Chipmunk's mischievous leader who pines for a hula hoop and dubs himself "The Awesomest One." He wouldn't have a musical group withou Simon (Matthew Gray), the brainiest of the Chipmunks, and Theodore, chubby as ever, voiced by tween heartthrob Jesse McCartney.
David takes a fatherly role toward the Chipmunks, cooking for them, making them clothes, and trying to make sure they don't get spoiled by their success. He insists, however, that they are just friends -- not a real family. Greedy agent Ian Hawke (David Cross) competes with David for the Chipmunks' affection. "Uncle" Ian spoils the Chipmunks with lavish gifts, but demands that they go on a worldwide tour, working far too many hours.
Who will the Chipmunks end up with -- their adopted though reluctant dad, Dave, who only wants what's best for them, or greedy "Uncle" Ian, who only wants to exploit them? The ending's predictability doesn't spoil the fun of getting there.
I have to admit -- our family avoided seeing this in the theater over the holidays because of the bad reviews, but it turned out that we absolutely loved this movie. It was adorable -- with enough of the old charm and enough of a new story to keep us engaged.
What Kids Will Like:
Kids will love the adorable animation and the Chipmunks' renditions of well-known songs, including Daniel Powter's "Bad Day" (an "American Idol" hit.)
What Parents Will Like:
Adults will enjoy plenty of references to the original Chipmunks, as well as discovering the answers to many Chipmunk mysteries, such as how the hula hoop line ended up in their classic Christmas song, where Simon got his rodent-sized glasses, and how all three came to wear those cute little sweaters. True Chipmunk fans may notice that David Seville lives in house number 1958, the year the original Chipmunks were created.
Parents may also appreciate the opportunity to talk about issues such as what it means to be a family, as well as materialism and what it means to be "spoiled."