For a good laugh and fun so clean it's... well, almost squeaky, I recommend Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.
My son and I saw the second Chipmunks movie at the late showing on Christmas night, and I have to say it was just what the doctor ordered after what turned out to be an even more hectic evening than anticipated. (Long story short: Time was not our friend. Everything we had planned after 4 p.m. was off schedule and involved a lot more drama than I cared for or could help.)
Aside from the people behind us who brought a toddler to the 9 p.m. movie and the kids at the back of the theater who were spitting ice at others, this was a quality family experience.
The hilarity starts when Alvin starts showing off during a Chipmunks concert. Dave (Jason Lee) is seriously injured trying to cool the charismatic rodent's jets. When Dave finds out he's to be in traction for a while, he arranges for his Aunt Jackie, played by Kathryn Joosten (known by many a gal as Mrs. McCluskey on "Desperate Housewives") to take care of them.
Jackie arrives in a wheelchair at the airport to pick up Dave’s “boys” accompanied by her gamer nephew Toby (Zachary Levi). In typical Chimpunk style, Jackie ends up rolling backward down the escalator to another floor and is herself injured, leaving the much younger slacker relative to care for the Chipmunks.
Alvin (voiced by Justin Long), Simon (voiced by Matthew Gray Gubler) and Theodore (Jesse McCartney) must start school without Dave. Alvin falls in with the jocks. Simon gets picked on and Theodore thinks the animosity between his brothers really stinks. The poor guy is left in the cold, literally having the blanket yanked off in Alvin and Simon’s tug of war, as his brothers grow further apart. As always, Alvin eventually picks his siblings over popularity and Simon forgives him, but not without some major drama and minor damages between times.
While the Chipmunks are adjusting to life as high school students, "Uncle Ian" (David Cross) leaves his garbage-diving existence after The Chipettes, an odd-looking not quite cute version of the Chipmunks, track him down wanting him to make them famous like The Chipmunks. The former Jett Records exec who "discovered" The Chipmunks starts calling all of his former contacts and coworkers, trying to get someone to listen to his newest find. Ian initially convinced the girls that he and The Chipmunks parted ways because they "outgrew" him, simply thought they were bigger than him and left him in the dust. So, the Chipettes snub Alvin, Simon and Theodore who they once adored and emulated.
The Chipmunks, meanwhile, are convinced by a star-crazed Chipmunk tattooed principal to represent the school in a singing contest for a shot at at $25,000 prize to keep the school's music program afloat. Who this was permitted I don’t know. Aren’t there rules about professional singers competing against regular school kids to keep such unfair happenings from occurring.
When Ian can't get his former industry contacts to listen to his new singing animals, he enters Brittany (Christina Applegate), Jeanette (Anna Faris) and Eleanor (Amy Poehler) in school alongside Alvin, Simon and Theodore. Of course both sets of furry kids notice each other and can’t help stealing glances at their counterparts.
Crafty Ian then challenges The Chipmunks to a contest between them and The Chipettes for the honor of representing the school in the talent contest. He just wants people to hear The Chipettes play and gain Internet exposure so he can reclaim his former lifestyle of money and power. The Chipettes win the challenge against the Chipmunks when Alvin fails to show after a game.
The event was just enough for someone to notice The Chipettes, and they're offered a concert which is to be held at the same time as the talent contest. This reveals Ian's true nature to the conscience-stricken Chipettes, who he put in a cage just prior to the big gig to ensure the girls’ cooperation. The boys are brought in on the girls' plight and it's up to them to rescue their female counterparts.
Although there's very little of funny man Lee (Dave) in this movie, it can't help being a laugh a minute with such talented funny voices and actors involved. Seriously, my 11-year-old laughed throughout the entire movie with hardly a break.
For a cute afternoon — or evening — of fun the entire family can enjoy, go see Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. It's playing four times daily, five times on weekends through at least Jan. 7 at Starplex Cinemas in Sulphur Springs and is well worth the nominal fee to get in.
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