Dave (Lee) takes all six mischievous Chipmunks on a cruise-ship holiday before their big performance at the International Music Awards. Of course, Alvin (Long) is immediately in trouble, taking his pals Simon and Theodore (Bugler and McCartney) and the Chipettes (Poehler, Applegate and Faris) with him. But Alvin's next stunt strands them all on a deserted island, including Dave and former manager Ian (Cross). On the island they meet treasure-hunting nutcase castaway Zoe (Slate), just as a volcano is about to blow.
The filmmakers don't bother to make any sense of the thin plot or develop even a passing sense of internal logic. But they pack scenes with amusing references to everything from Cast Away to Indiana Jones to Spider-man. And they fill each scene with witty verbal and visual gags, most of which are deeply silly, in an attempt to subvert our critical faculties. It kind of works, even if nothing about this entire project seems remotely original.
The oddest thing is the overly tweaked voices of the Chipmunks, which are unintelligible at least half of the time and make the use of talented, A-list actors rather irrelevant. The characters aren't very interesting either, each featuring just one characteristic, which is played for all it's worth. To change things up, plot contrivances cause two Chipmunks to swap their roles in the pack, which at least adds some humour and a bit of romantic tension, even if it makes no sense at all.
But then, making sense was nobody's priority. This is just a goofy romp that takes the Chipmunks out of their usual music-bizz setting for a random adventure. We know from the start that everyone will be fine and no one will actually learn the lessons that are hammered home every few minutes. in fact, the moral message is jarringly, knowingly conflicting, urging us to be both more responsible and more risk-taking. But never mind. The film keeps kids entertained without insulting the grown-ups. For this genre, that's a triumph.
Run time: 87 mins
In Theaters: Friday 16th December 2011
Box Office USA: $133.1M
Box Office Worldwide: $342.7M
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Production compaines: Fox 2000 Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 12%
Fresh: 9 Rotten: 68
IMDB: 4.3 / 10
Director: Mike Mitchell
Producer: Ross Bagdasarian, Janet Karman
Screenwriter: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger
Starring: Amy Poehler as Eleanor (voice), Jenny Slate as Zoe, Andy Buckley as Captain Correlli, Jesse McCartney as Theodore (voice), Jason Lee as David Seville, Anna Faris as Jeanette (voice), Christina Applegate as Brittany (voice), Justin Long as Alvin (voice)