published Friday, December 25th, 2009

'Squeakquel': Twice the chipmunks, half the fun

By Glenn Whipp

The Associated Press

"Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" offers exactly two big laughs for its kiddo target audience -- one involves passing gas, the other a shot to the crotch.

Young and old alike have ample opportunity to mull over the movie's head-scratching decisions that leave us with more questions than answers.

Namely:

1. Why do the Chipmunks need to go to high school?

Early in "Squeakquel," a rodent-related accident lands Dave (Jason Lee) in a full body cast. Dave puts the rodents in the care of his slacker cousin Toby (Zachary Levi) and instructs that Alvin, Simon and Theodore go to school.

Now we already know that the Chipmunks are smarter than Dave. And at the beginning of "Squeakquel," we see again that they are veritable cash machines capable of rocking the house with ear-bleeding covers of songs old and new. So do chipmunks really need a diploma?

Say what you will about the 2007 "Chipmunk" movie, but at least it had a story.

2. If you double the chipmunks, do you double the ... um ... fun?

"Squeakquel" introduces us to the Chipettes, three girl chipmunks, whose personalities and singing aspirations mirror the boys. Christina Applegate, Amy Poehler and Anna Faris voice the Chipettes, but you'd never know it because their factory-rendered, high-pitched voices sound fairly identical, completely wasting the talent behind them.

3. Why didn't David Cross have Jason Lee's escape clause (or sense of dignity)?

Cross' desperate villain, Ian, returns in "Squeakquel," pretty much doing the same thing again, down to the wire-cage imprisonment finale.

Ian latches onto the Chipettes as his return to the top, boldly proclaiming that they'll make the world forget about the Chipmunks. OK. Maybe if they were singing porcupines, he'd have a point.

4. Has anyone ever talked to Alvin and the boys about the birds and the bees?

Just asking because Alvin, in particular, seems a tad confused. The Chipettes' arrival understandably gets the blood flowing, but Alvin also seems just a little too interested in hooking up with high school girls. (Even the lunk-headed jocks know something's up and plot revenge.)

And the ending? Without revealing too much, expect to hear the pitter patter of little rodent feet in (gulp) the "Threequel."

5. Speaking of which, is it too late to start collecting loose change so we can send it along to Fox and stave off the inevitable?

We'll form the Facebook group.

'ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE SQUEAKUEL'

* Rating: PG for some mild rude humor.

* Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes.

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