| The Red Right Hand
ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS
I have faint memories of watching the Alvin and the Chipmunks show; I seem to recall my main confrontation was not overly to do with characters or plot but largely due to the fact that, like most British children, I didn't know what chipmunks were. Well, charades you are, for now I am much older and wiser and indeed know that a chipmunk is a sort of stripy squirrel... sort of. In addition to the knowledge gained my focus has now changed and I am now very much concerned with plot and characters, both of which this film is heavily lacking.
This film is a simple origin story about a songwriter called Dave [Lee] who gains three talking/singing chipmunks as lodgers/children. That's about it; the plot rides heavily on poorly generated digital rats that become famous, get taken advantage of by a producer and learn that family is more important than money or success... or something like that. The concept is over fifty years old and essentially involves taking a regular singer and speeding up his/her voice; a parlour trick that I've never been greatly impressed by. Amidst covers of popular contemporary tracks, the chipmunks also open their 50's repertoire of holly-jolly mindless pap with hard-hitting, deep meaningful lyrics such as "Ooo eee, oo aa aa, ting tang, walla walla bing bang" and "We've been good but we can't last, hurry Christmas, hurry fast".
Second-rate songs, second-rate CGI and second-rate crew; only makes sense to have a second-rate cast, right? Oddly enough, director Tim Hill (the guy who directed the Garfield sequel - not Garfield but the even crappier sequel!) cast Golden Globe nominee Jason Lee, Emmy winner David Cross, the increasingly popular Justin Long and that girl, Cameron Richardson, who was in that one episode of House, you know, the episode with the model who finds out she's a hermaphrodite and freaks out? Whatever, I remember it... I remembered it all the way through the film and couldn't shake the image of her standing naked, shouting, "Look at me! How can I not be a girl!?" (Irrelevant? Maybe. Funny? Very) Despite this, they loyally follow the script and manage to produce a healthy piece of crap. Not to sound like a conspiracy nut but I've been informed that the voices claimed to be used for the chimp-punks were in fact only used for a teaser trailer and not the entire movie... hmmm, intriguing.
In quick summation, I found this film incredibly tired, predictable and bland. The characters were 2D, the scenarios largely stupid and the songs impressively irritating. I would only recommend it for very young children, people who like cuddly little animals and neo-Nazis - no particular reason for that last one except those talking rats are strangely evil, a point which is mentioned in the film.
21st December 2007
The Scene To Look Out For:
There was an obscene amount of Spongebob Square Pants being shown on the TV; no matter when they watch television, it always seemed to be Spongebob. It wasn't until later that I realised that Tim Hill was one of the writers for that show - it's amazing how these things fit together when you see all the little pieces. As for scene, I don't know, at one point Dave takes his little rodent infestation shopping and he has a conversation with a mother who can't control her child. It was a mildly entertaining exchange:
Yeah, they keep you on your toes. You have any?
Some days are better than others.
...and some days you just want to close them in a box and leave the box in a park and run away. You know?
I'm a bit of a Jason Lee fan, from his View Askew days with Kevin Smith to the My Name Is Earl stuff; but Holy God he looked so rigid, uncomfortable and unsure of himself throughout the entire film! But that's more of an actor analysis than character so let's go with Theodore because he was so fucking cute - let's face it, that's the only thought anyone has leaving the cinema.
"The idea of a talking chipmunk is creepy, unnatural and somewhat evil"
In A Few Words:
"Stupid, boring, annoying… pretty much everything I expected"