“Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel” is a kids comedy that screams “Direct to DVD.”
It doesn’t help that it screams that in high, squeaky, three-part harmony.
Whatever slim charms there were in the nostalgic, musically cute and slapstick-friendly first film of chipmunk mania are squished right out of “The Squeakquel” like so much rodent roadkill. The cast is cut-rate and the script needed a visit from a serious gag writer.
Apparently, Fox blew the budget on tunes. Songs from Beyonce and Katy Perry to the Bee Gees and The Kinks are amusingly covered by competing bands of harmonizing forest fauna.
Alvin, Simon and Theodore take a step back from fame to go to West Eastman High School, where they cope with bullies, girls, budget cuts to the school music program and Alvin’s (voiced by Justin Long) egomania.
He’s all about fitting in with the jocks, ditching his nerdy brothers, slinging the slang: “BOO-yah! It is on like Donkey Kong!”
They do it all without their “Dad,” David Seville (Jason Lee, wisely opting to do his few scenes in traction in a hospital room). So Dave’s irresponsible, video-game addict cousin Toby (Zachary Levi of TV’s “Chuck” and “Less Than Perfect”) is put in charge.
A Destiny’s Child-inspired counter-group, The Chipettes (voiced by Anna Faris, Amy Poehler and Christina Applegate) – managed by the Chipmunks’ old agent-nemesis, Ian (David Cross) – shows up to shake their money makers, tempt the boys and sing “(Single Ladies) Put a Ring on It” and other recent girl-group hits.
The script has one laugh in it. One. (If you don’t know what “Dutch Oven!” means in relation to flatulence, ask your kids.)
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