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Alvin & The Chipmunks: Road Chip - DVD Review

Alvin & The Chipmunks: Road Chip

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

RESISTANCE almost seems futile now for the Alvin & The Chipmunk franchise given that we are now, somehow, four films in. So, if you’re willing to get on board then Road Chip continues to showcase the best and the worst that the series has to offer.

Walt Becker’s film is actually a great deal better than the previous instalment, Chip Wrecked, but it does test the patience at times by virtue of the incessant sweetness on show, the high pitched voices, the near-endless product placement, the pointless adult references and some of the wretched cover versions.

But it also somehow endears at times, whether its courtesy of a couple of really fun musical sequences, an always endearing Jason Lee (who gets a little more to do this time around) and an OTT but amiable pantomime villain performance from Veep‘s Tony Hale.

The story this time around finds music manager Dave (Lee) enjoying a blossoming romance with Samantha (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), a beautiful doctor, and embarking on a business trip to Miami where it looks as though he might be about to propose.

Fearful that this new chapter in Dave’s life might spell the end for them, and mindful of Samantha’s antagonistic stepbrother (Josh Green), Alvin (voiced by Justin Long), Theodore and Simon embark on a cross-country odyssey to prevent their best pal from ruining their lives.

The ensuing adventure boasts little in the way of plot surprises or even worthwhile character development and seems to exist only to ram home the point about dysfunctional family dynamics. But while that may often grate, particularly among the reluctant parents forced to drag their kids along, there are elements that enliven proceedings.

Some of the pratfalls that befall the central characters are amusing in an old school Tom & Jerry kind of way, with the hapless [but highly game] Hale forced to bear the brunt of most of it, while a couple of the musical numbers are genuinely rousing: a New Orleans-based take on Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk being a particular standout.

The decision to focus more on the guy chipmunks, rather than The Chipettes, also proves wise, as does the more low-key approach to the scale of the adventure.

It’s just a shame that some of the more onerous elements are left unchecked, including the unnecessary product placement (for all things Alvin related, as well as numerous other things), while a lot of the adult in-jokes (such as a cameo by John Walters or a nod to horror classic The Exorcist) are completely superfluous.

Still, if you’re looking for something to amuse the kids on a cold, windy afternoon then Road Chip is bearable enough – just. But a fifth film would really be a stretch.

Certificate: U
Running time: 92mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: June 20, 2016