ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED (U): On General Release Friday 16th December
The third instalment of the Chipmunks movie franchise is as expected, a high-pitched waste of time that will keep very young children amused but will give adults a headache.
It sees long suffering everyman Dave (Jason Lee) on a cruise ship with the six squeaky-voiced animated furballs (that’s the female Chipettes as well as the usual three). Alvin, being the disruptive rebellious tyke that he is, encourages the troop to fly a kite, which promptly carries them away to a nearby desert island.
Meanwhile, Dave gets into an altercation with his old enemy Ian (David Cross) who’s dressed as a duck; they fall overboard and are washed up on the other side of the island. The chipmunks run into Zoe (Jenny Slate), who, in a reference to Castaway, is living with an assortment of sports balls with faces. She has an obsession with treasure and will do anything to get it but everyone will have to put aside their differences if they’re to escape before the local volcano erupts.
The celebrity voice cast includes Justin Long, Anna Faris and Christina Applegate but their talents are rendered pointless because everyone’s had their pitch adjusted to helium heights. The rodents all break out into Chipmunked versions of modern day pop and R&B tunes at the drop of hat but there’s never a tie-in to the plot when they do, so it seems like a cynical attempt to make some money out of the inevitable soundtrack album.
Granted, the series is aimed at young children and they will probably be entertained by the bright colours and flashing lights, but there’s a depressing lack of imagination – the jokes are unfunny and the writing lazy and perfunctory. Adults will most likely grind their teeth to powder inside three minutes.