Take a Drink: for every musical number.
Do a Shot: for every uncharacteristically weird part.
Do a Shot: if you’re not surprised that this is from the director of Wild Hogs.
Chug Your Beer: every time Dave yells “ALVIN!”
By: Hawk Ripjaw (Four Beers) –
“Ha! Alvin and the Chipmunks! I will throw myself on this sword!”
I submit the monthly email to Henry J. Fromage in which we claim our most anticipated movie reviews.
I do this before actually watching the trailer for Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip.
What hath Hawk wrought?
I trudge into the theater and listen wistfully to the adjoining auditorium, roaring with bass-y action as Star Wars: the Force Awakens entertains a room almost literally 100% fuller than this one.
Every month, I cheerfully request the worst looking movie for review.
Almost every month, I’m hit on but I politely excuse myself, because relationships are scary.
What is wrong with me? Do I subconsciously seek out misery? Does some part of my brain just want me to avoid satisfaction for as long as possible?
The Road Chip opens, as these movies do, with Alvin and his brothers Theodore and Franklin, voiced by three actors who should really give more of a fuck (actually, they’re Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, and Jesse McCartney, so maybe they shouldn’t), causing mischief—this time, throwing an absolute rager at their guardian Dave’s (Jason Lee, making the easiest damn paycheck of his life) house.
In any case, Dave has a new girlfriend, Samantha (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), and Samantha has a son, Miles (Josh Green). Green is an epic asshole, and immediately clashes with the chipmunks. When the brothers learn that Dave may be planning to propose to Samantha during their Miami vacation, they set off with Miles to derail the proposal and prevent Dave from starting a family and subsequently ditching his adopted kids, running afoul of Air Marshal James Suggs (Tony Hale) along the way.
If I’m being honest, the CGI for the chipmunks continues to get better. While it’s pretty obvious that the brothers are computer creations, the leap in realism from the first movie to the fourth is pretty impressive, and the characters and CGI whimsy continue to be marginally believable.
This movie has some weird stuff, and not that fun weird that you get from Chris Miller and Phil Lord. I’m talking John Waters having a cameo on the airplane, and Alvin referencing Pink Flamingos. I’m talking a brief appearance of Lil’ Jon and DJ Snake’s “Turn Down for What.” It’s almost baffling how this film series bumbles the adult humor. Even in previous films, the series has gone for references to Silence of the Lambs and so on. It borders on creepy.
David Cross, who played a part in the previous three Alvin movies, recently called the threequel “the most miserable experience I have ever had in my professional life.” Luckily for him, he was only contracted for three movies, which means the villain role needs filling for The Road Chip. Suspiciously, it’s another Arrested Development alum this time, with Tony Hale as the Air Marshal Suggs. Hale is trying to have fun. He hams the absolute shit out of his role, but he’s drilling for oil where there isn’t any. A couple of things that are supposed to be funny include Suggs leaning menacingly forward and accidentally dipping his tie in coffee, repeatedly calling himself “the police of the sky,” and drunkenly tattooing “Sugg life” on his torso. It’s also apparently supposed to be hilarious that he hates the Chipmunks because he used to love them before his girlfriend broke up with him for doing so. Lucky for us, Arrested Development is on Netflix so we can still see Hale’s greatness somewhere.
Hey, you like the Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars song “Uptown Funk,” right? How would you like for it to be performed by a large Mardi Gras band with the Chipmunks squealing the vocals? I mean, that’s what we’d all love to have happen to great songs. I get that it’s the Chipmunk shtick, but that started back when Alvin and his brothers were covering classic songs. This new series cherry picks any pop song that sounds decently good with a beat, and has three helium-voiced rodents harmonize it without said beat. The result, as you may expect, is not good. We’ve come a long, long way from “Christmas Don’t Be Late.”
The Road Chip isn’t miserable so much as it is banal. When I got out of Home, I felt like I had been psychologically tortured. When I got out of The Road Chip, I was planning the night’s meal from Kroger. Everything about this movie is either regular bad, or so inconsequential as to not even form a blip on the shit radar. My theater had 4 or 5 families around. I think I heard a kid laugh once, and that was when a character burped. Other than that, the theater was dead silent. The only time other time there was a legitimate laugh was from me, when a secondary character screwed up a proposal (because love isn’t real). Even those kids realized that this is the epitome of mediocre family films. It’s not good, it’s not terrible–it just fails to amount to anything to be worth giving a shit about.