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December 24, 2009
Review - " Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel "
(in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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the last one, wrings a lot of humor and charm from the idea that these three talented chipmunks are both an extraordinary
novelty and also, psychologically, a lot like you and me (or our misbehaving children). Alvin is a little bit of a glory hog, Simon
is a little bossy and Theodore is a little bit dim, but the traits are really watered down.  They seem more concerned with being
cute and hugging things out.

Theodore, Alvin, and Simon on their first day of school Life at home in Dave's absence does not go entirely as planned. The
aunt who had agreed to care for the chipmunks is injured while picking them up at the hospital, leaving Dave's videogame-
obsessed man-child cousin, Toby (Zachary Levi), officially in charge. Toby is benign but ineffectual, so the critters are
essentially left to their own devices. The challenges they face include foraging dinner in the kitchen's barren cupboards,
surviving attacks of high school bullies jealous of their popularity, and coping with Alvin's mushrooming ego as he discovers
his abilities as a high school varsity football player. (I would comment here on the credibility of a six-inch rodent playing
football, but as said rodent is already attending a human high school, a certain suspension of disbelief is assumed.)

In due course the munks are returned to their musical
context, when the school's tightly wound principal Dr.
Rubin (Wendie Malick) reveals that she is a closet fan
and asks the trio to represent the school in a district
music competition. Victory is assured until a new musical
act arrives on the scene—three talented female
chipmunks known as "The Chipettes" (voiced by Amy
Poehler, Christian Applegate, and Anna Faris). Alvin,
Theodore and Simon are less threatened than delighted,
each finds his feminine counterpart, and love is in the air.

The Chipettes make an impression on everyone
Unfortunately, villainous Ian Hawke (David Cross) is in
the mix as well. The greedy record exec (who ruthlessly
commandeered the chipmunks in the first film) is trying to
claw his way back from professional ruin by managing the
Chipettes and exploiting the girls just the way he did the
boys. His machinations threaten to undo all six lovable creatures, unless Toby can man up, Alvin can put others first,
and the chipmunks can collectively outsmart Ian.
Alvin and the Chipmunks:  The Squeakuel

Directed by:  Betty Thomas
Cast: Zachary Levi, David Cross, Jason Lee, Wendie Malick

Ever since Alvin and his brothers debuted in 1958, movie, TV, and music producers
have been able to count on the money-making combination of precocious animated
rodents, kid-friendly plot lines and, most importantly, chart-topping pop music
delivered in those trademark chipmunk vocals. The latest installment in the
adventure is Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, the follow-up to 2007's
hugely successful live-action/animation offering. To parents, the film is likely to feel
like an innocuous but somewhat lazy cash grab, but kids (especially younger ones)
will laugh and thrill on cue to the munks' latest exploits.

This story begins where the previous film ends: Alvin, Theodore, and Simon are
world-touring mega-pop stars in the tender but exasperated care of their adoptive
father Dave Seville(Jason Lee). When Alvin's on-stage shenanigans land Dave in a
Paris hospital, Dave decides his young charges need some regular life to combat
their growing rock star egos. He sends them home for a dose of normalcy, complete
with enrollment at the local high school. Of course, three tiny woodland creatures
attempting to study, socialize, play dodge ball, and negotiate hallways with hundreds
of full-sized (and heavy-footed) teenagers is anything but "normal." But this film, like
The Squeakquel I attended was jammed pack with
children, and they seemed uniformly enthusiastic about
the movie. The filmmakers have made certain that not
one of the film's 88 zippy minutes lags, and they've
peppered the story with can't-miss gags (predictably
involving flatulence and crotch injuries in the two
instances that provoked the greatest laughter). When
emotional content is required, the camera lingers on
Theodore's tear-filled eyes just long enough to illicit
empathetic "aws" and then races on to the next
diversion. And, as in the last film, the decision to have
the chipmunks perform only the hottest Top 40 hits
insures a hip factor that young kids seem to enjoy.