The fourth installment in the Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise isn’t terrible, but it is forgettable, cheesy and lacking in stand-out comedic moments. It’s not something that anyone over the age of ten will really want to see.
The newest installment in the series sees Alvin, Simon and Theodore try to stop their caretaker, Dave, from proposing to his new girlfriend and consequently dumping them. They also don’t want to be stuck with his girlfriend’s son, Miles, their possible new step-brother. This sees the trio and Miles take on a three day road-trip from Los Angeles to Miami, running into several obstacles along the way.
There are some very lacklustre performances from the movies main cast. Jason Lee makes a return as Dave but his acting in the role is so boring and uninteresting that you can almost tell he is only doing this for the pay-check, he shows no real passion or commitment and it’s no surprise that he only shows up for the beginning and ending of the movie. Uzo Aduba (Crazy-Eyes from Orange is the New Black) even makes a surprise cameo but she too shows no real dedication to the script and delivers her lines in a dull and detached manner. The worst performance of the film definitely comes from the relatively unknown actor Josh Green, who plays the Chipmunk’s new step-brother. His acting in this movie is genuinely terrible. He puts in such an awkward, fake, and just generally poor routine that it actually had me tensing up as he delivered some of his lines. It’s a real surprise they didn’t cast someone better in this role as apart from the three chipmunks, he has the most screen time. Speaking of the chipmunks, their voice acting is largely satisfactory but that’s too be expected with big actors/actresses like Justin Long (Drag me to Hell), Anna Farris (Scary Movie), Christina Applegate (Achorman) and Kaley Cuoco (Big Bang Theory) staring in the roles.
On the contrary however Tony Hale, best known for his role as ‘Buster’ in Arrested Development, puts in a very funny and entertaining performance as the film’s antagonist Agent Suggs, saving the movie from being a total drag. He’s given some of the movies most comedic lines and he delivers them with flair, highlighting his talent as a comedic actor. His use of slap-stick comedy isn’t too over-the-top and I actually enjoyed when he got some screen-time. However his story arc in this movie is really unimpressive and isn’t properly resolved, the best we get are some short clips being played during the end credits, hardly a substantial way to end what is possibly the best characters part in the movie.
One thing that I did enjoy was the movies soundtrack; the pop songs they use to transition from scene to scene fit the tone well and helped keep the movie lively and engaging. Aside from some highly annoying covers, the Chipmunks sing an original song during the movie’s climax which I actually enjoyed as it was related to the narrative and had a sincere message.
In conclusion I’d say that Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip is a cheesy, slapstick filled kid’s movie with very few laugh-out-loud moments. You could tell the writers were directly marketing this movie to kids, which is a shame because the license does come from the sixties so I’m sure there are some parents out there that may get a sense of nostalgia by watching these newer movies. Sure they do throw in some throwbacks like Dave’s famous ‘’Alvin!” scream and the movie makes reference to several other classics like ‘The Matrix’, ‘The Good the Bad and the Ugly’ and ‘The Shining’ but these are clearly just thrown in for the benefit of the parents having to sit through this with their kids. All in all I would say that the movie is pretty pointless to anyone over the age of ten.
Reviewed by Robbie McKinney
Director: Walt Becker
Cast: Jason Lee, Justin Long, Matthew Gary Gubler, Jesse McCartney, Josh Green, Tony Hale.
Genres: Family, Comedy
Run Time: 92 minutes