A Closer Look At Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel

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Are you looking for a family-friendly movie to take your children to that you will also enjoy? Did you grow up watching the Alvin and the Chipmunks cartoon? Could it be that you saw the first movie and what to know if the squeal…I mean the squeakquel is worth seeing? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, I suggest you check out Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.

Directed by Betty Thomas (The Brady Bunch Movie, Dr. Doolittle) and based on the characters created by Ross Bagdasarian Sr., Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel picks up where the 2007 movie left off. When the movie opens, Alvin (voiced by Justin Long), Simon (voiced by Matthew Gray Gubler) and Theodore (voiced by Jesse McCartney) are performing at a benefit concert in Paris. Due to an accident involving a faulty scaffolding and being thrown into electric devices, their surrogate father, Dave Seville (Jason Lee), becomes seriously injured and must hand over parental duties temporarily to his Aunt Jackie (Kathryn Joosten) and his cousin, Toby (Zachary Levi). When Aunt Jackie accidentally falls down a flight of stairs and must go to the hospital, it is up to Toby to care for the boys. Prior to his accident, feeling that the boys needed to have more normal lives, Dave had enrolled them in school. Reluctantly, the boys go and are immediately made the targets of the school bullies. Meanwhile, a package arrives at Jett Records where the “bad guy” from the first movie, Ian (David Cross) has been secretly living. In the hope of becoming superstars like the boys,  sisters Brittany (voiced by Christina Applegate), Jeanette (voiced by Anna Faris ) and Eleanor (voiced by Amy Poehler) a.k.a. The Chipettes have mailed themselves to the record company. Thinking that he still represents their idols, The Chipmunks, the girls ask Ian to represent them as their agent. Ian, deciding that they’ll help him return to his former glory, gladly accepts. Hearing of a music competition that The Chipmunks are set to compete in, Ian goes to their school with his newest clients and challenges the boys to prove themselves better singers than the girls. Who are the better singers? Can The Chipettes escape from Ian’s grasp? Will Dave ever recover? To have these questions (and others) answered, you need to see the movie.

Like the first movie, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel is adorable. With a script by Jon Vitti, Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, the story is funny and easy to follow if not completely predictable. My only complaint is that unlike in the case of The Chipmunks, The Chipettes aren’t given more of back story. It would’ve been interesting to learn about where they came from instead of just having them pop out of an envelope. Nevertheless, it’s a good movie with the kind of high tech computer animation you’d expect.

Being that I’m one of three children, I’ve always liked The Chipmunks. I enjoy the trouble they get into and how, no matter what else may change, they always can count on each other. In this movie, they are faced with the horror that is the first day of school. They encounter bullies. They have to deal with obnoxious girls. If they didn’t have each other, they wouldn’t have made it through the day. As a trio, they are asked by their principal to use their musical skills in order to compete in the talent competition in the hopes of winning the prize money that is so vital to keeping the school’s music program up and running. For some, this would’ve been a daunting request. Yet, for the brothers it was simple because they could count on each other. This movie teaches children (and reminds adults) that family is a crucial factor in leading a happy life and to cherish the relationships you have with your family members because they are precious. It is an important lesson that one is never too old to hear.

Having read other reviews, I’m aware that I might be alone in my appreciation of this movie. Yet, considering that showings are selling out quickly and that the viewing I attended was packed it goes to show you that professional critics don’t know everything. I recommend you see Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel even if you don’t have children. It’s light and fun and in this day and age when life can feel so dire it might be a nice change of pace for you.

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