Sometimes you get the feeling that movie studios are just trying to take money from your kids.
With Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, that’s the audience they’re aiming for, and honestly, the movie is about as fun as a half-eaten surfboard washed up on shore. Picking it up, it looks like it was once something fun, but now has been so used and chewed up that all the thrill’s been left out at sea.
The premise is a simple one: Dave Seville (Jason Lee), the Chipmunks (Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, and Jesse McCartney), and the Chipettes (Amy Poehler, Anna Faris, and Christina Applegate) are on a cruise, en route to an international music awards show. Thanks to Alvin’s antics, they’re carried away on a windsurfing kite to a remote island, stranded and Dave-less. On the island, each of the ‘munks main character traits are flipped—Alvin’s careless, immature, reckless attitude is forced to be “responsible,” Simon’s calculating, careful, follow-the-rules persona is replaced (after a spider’s bite) with Simone, (or SEE-Moan), a French accented daredevil. Theodore’s timidity is soon replaced with bungee-jumping. Dave, teamed up with former-producer-turned-bird-mascot Ian (David Cross) set out to find the pint-sized performers—and wacky antics ensue.
On the island, the chipmunks meet Zoe (Jenny Slate), who’s a bit odd—yes, that’s her character, being stranded on the island for 10 years—but watching the movie, she’s actually really odd, sometimes uncomfortably so. Her character came off as that one person who, when out with a bunch of friends, kills the conversation with a strange comment—forcing everyone to nervously laugh or avert eye contact. Long story short, everyone learns a life lesson and the chipmunks are rescued.
Where Chipwrecked really gets stranded are the massive amount of pop-culture references riddled throughout the 87 minutes—some, if not most, kids won’t even get: James Bond, Castaway, a dance-off with Jersey Shore-like girls, Lord of both Rings and Flies, even a reference to Sarah Palin seeing Russia from her house. They’re not funny even on their own, let alone in a kid’s movie. They just come off flat.
The one (and only) laugh from the 10 and under audience was when Alvin slams spread-eagle into a tree and exclaims, “Oh, my acorns.” When the bar’s set there, it’s hard to go much lower.
Overall, it’s a renter, at best. Alvin does learn lessons about responsibility and asking forgiveness, which would’ve been at least redeemable if that was the final message of the movie. But, with Alvin being Alvin, as soon as he’s past the “I’m sorry” and “I’ll grow up,” he’s back at it again, causing mischief on the plane ride home.
If you’re going to let the movies take your money, at least wait until Chipwrecked is only $1.00 at RedBox.