Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip full movie review - "Alvin and the Chipmunks - Road Chip" feels like it's running on fumes.
There are two kinds of people in the world ? those who think the Chipmunks are adorable and those who find them annoying. It's a difference of opinion that has existed since 1958.
That year, actor and musician Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. released a novelty Christmas song that he created by speeding up a recording he had made, and the Chipmunks were born. "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" was a sensation and is still played during the holiday season. The song won two Grammys and launched a phenomenon. The furry little guys, called Alvin, Simon and Theodore, sang more songs, both originals and covers, and "they" released albums of those songs. They have starred in three different TV series and several individual videos and films, including four theatrical features since 2005. Unfortunately for the Chipmunks (and the Chipmunk team), their 2015 release, "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip" (PG, 1:26) probably won't win them any fans, and may lose them some.
As with the previous three films, this one features an animated Alvin, Simon and Theodore (voiced, respectively, by Justin Long, Matthew Grey Gubler and Jesse McCartney) in a live-action world where they primarily interact with Dave Seville (Jason Lee), their human "dad" ? slash ? manager. (And, as in the previous two films, "The Chipettes", Brittany, Jeanette and Eleanor appear, again voiced by Christina Applegate and Anna Faris, but with Kaley Cuoco pinch hitting for Amy Poehler.) The boys (as Dave calls them) go on an adventure, get into some mischief, sing some songs and do some dancing.
The "plot" in a Chipmunks movie is about as important as the plot of an adult film (or so I'm told), but "The Road Chip" does contain one. (Meaning, this Chipmunks movie has a plot, not contains adult content.) As the movie opens, Dave is dating a doctor named Samantha (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) and things are getting serious. To get their families to meet, Dave and his boys go miniature golfing with Samantha and her teenage son, Miles (Josh Green). Miles has his mom believing that he's "a good kid", but in reality, he's got major daddy issues and his new favorite pastime is abusing talking chipmunks.
As Dave is getting ready to fly from L.A. to Miami for the album launch of his client, Ashley (Bella Thorne), he invites Samantha to join him. When the boys see him bring home an engagement ring, they draw their own conclusions. Alvin, Simon and Theodore fear the prospect of Miles as their brother, and worse yet, that Dave will sail off into the sunset with Samantha and leave their furry little butts behind. Either way, they feel they have to keep Dave from proposing and Miles agrees to help them for reasons of his own. They set up the house to fool Dave's neighbor, Ms. Price (Jennifer Coolidge), who has agreed to check in on them, then all four guys head to Miami to steal the ring and prevent the proposal.
As you can guess, getting to Miami proves more difficult than it sounds and results in some sticky situations, along with some singing and dancing by those three talented rodents. Miles has a cash flow issue, which causes problems that are compounded by the boys' antics. Early in the road chip, all four of them get kicked off an airplane and run afoul of an air marshal named James Suggs (Tony Hale). They give him the slip, but he gives chase ? for the rest of the movie. Along the way, the Chipmunks perform "Conga", "South Side", "Iko Iko", "Turn Down for What", "Home" and, during a New Orleans parade, "Uptown Funk", which, even though it wasn't the big finale, was probably the highlight of the movie.
"Alvin and the Chipmunks ? The Road Chip" comes off like a movie that was made just because no one had done it in a few years. The animation of the three chipmunks is excellent, but the visual effects that blend them with the real-world backdrops are inconsistent and often just bad. The "plot" feels contrived and the plot points and characters' behavior often don't make sense. The jokes and sight gags aren't very funny, the boys aren't as entertaining as they usually are and their performances lack creativity and energy. The cast (except for Hale) even looks bored. "But kids don't care about any of that," you might think. Maybe not, but the kids in the theater with me laughed more during the trailer for "Kung Fu Panda 3" than during this movie. Those of you buying the kids' movie tickets will probably care about the issues I raised, and the few adult-skewing jokes won't help much. The Chipmunks are still adorable, but their fourth feature film is more annoying than entertaining ? for kids of any age. "C-"