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Friday, December 23, 2011

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(Published in City Express, The New Indian Express, on 24 December, 2011, retrieved from

Cast: Jason Lee, David Cross, Jenny Slate
Voice Cast: Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney, Amy Poehler, Anna Faris, Christina Applegate
Director: Mike Mitchell
Rating: 2 stars
Having succeeded in making the Shrek franchise unwatchable for those who are into animated thingies, Mike Mitchell returns to flog a dead horse in Alvin and the Chipmunks 3.
This time round, Dave (Jason Lee) takes his band of Chipmunks and Chipettes to perform at the creatively-named International Music Awards, where their squeaky voices are popular. For some reason, they decide to go on a cruise before that. Ian (David Cross), his nemesis, finds his way to the ship, and during the course of a shipwreck, says something about turning down Justin Bieber and signing up a girl group whose members are called Hate, Anger and Regret. That will only make sense to people who are old enough to remember TLC, and those people are too old to laugh at that.
Full of clichéd humour and random predictable gags, the movie spends several minutes nodding at other films with tired jokes – the Captain of the ship is Corelli, the island the chipmunks and humans wash up on gives them plenty of scope to orchestrate callbacks to Lost and Castaway, and the rest of it, I’m simply too worn out to remember.
It says something about the film that they couldn’t even find in-shape human salsa dancers to compete with the Chipettes. But it says something about the franchise – or its audience – that despite having been panned by reviewers after every edition, it’s made more money with every release.
The first film made $361 million, the second $443 million plus some loose change which someone would need an MBA from Harvard to make in a year.  And Chipwrecked, the sequel to Squeakuel, has already made more than $37 million in the first week.
If you want to take your kids out for some good, clean fun, this movie is a good choice. It has infantile comic sketches that will probably have your children coughing out popcorn. A chipmunk gets cut off before he can complete the idiom “pain in the ass”, so you won’t have uncomfortable questions to deal with.
It’s the sort of movie an unfortunate couple gets stuck taking about a hundred kids to, after celebrating the birthday of a product of their love. And it’s that genre of film that makes resourceful couples glad they voted to have dogs instead of babies.
If you’re part of a guileless couple that has parented a spoilt brat that has made a lot of friends of his or her ilk, you’d be well-advised to sneak in some...umm, shall we say fermented grape juice...into the movie hall. You’ll need it at several points of this film, every one of whose 5220 seconds stretches yet another blood vessel to bursting point.
The Final Verdict: Unless your age or IQ is in single digits, don’t watch this film sober.


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