Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
28Mar/120

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011)

Somewhere in Hollywood, performers like Jason Lee and Brendan Fraser gather at a diner and razz each other about the past.  "Smith?", Fraser starts off, "Kevin Smith?  Hack couldn't get past comic book misogyny even if he had Zack Snyder as a tourguide."  Lee, a bit gristled, responds, "Look at you coming at me from a position of higher authority.  All those subtle race lessons Paul Haggis taught you suddenly make you the social police here?"

So they order another whiskey, and the conversation drifts toward films like The Quiet American and Almost Famous.  A cigarette plume dies as they both march toward their respective green screens, soldiering the talent as good soldiers should.  They nod toward each other, down the last whiskey sour, and say goodbye as they disappear into a world of pointless dance scenes and animated animals.

David Cross isn't involved here because he's had his time to fume publicly, and instead puts on a forgotten Rat Pack comedy routine set to the art rock styling of Das Oath.  I may be getting Cross confused with Crispin Glover for the purposes of this story, but no fantasy I can cook up provides enough distance from Chipwrecked.

The Chipmunks have been the perfect symbol for our creatively starved times.  Throw on a few tunes set to a clever, high-pitched squealing attainable only through toxic levels of helium then throw them into a comic situation tired when Mickey Rooney was a baby.  As personalities they're selling points and less forgivable than the Power Rangers because you can't make an awesome morphing robot out of a bunch of pop-star rodents.

This is one of the times nostalgia rears its angry teeth to gnash us all in our collective reproduction zones.  Chipwrecked is a painful experience made unique at the volume pitch and little else, making sense only if you are familiar with the dense history of the Chipmunks and their relationship to poor Dave (Lee).

Dave, as it must be pointed out, who must be frustrated to be a single man forced to share attraction duties with three six inch furries with their initials emblazoned on their clothing.  Yes, only Alvin really does this, but the helpful color coding gently washes away the gentle sexism at play in these movies.

We could have left the Chipmunks series at Alvin and his siblings eating their own poop and recycling pop hits until they're indecipherable.  Instead they decided to bring the Chipettes into their bland adventures proving, once again for your kids, that females are always going to be direct clones of their male superiors, or that all women are bling obsessed crazies.  Then one of the chipmunks decides to go into cultural caricature status.  It was offensive enough when Toy Story 3 did it with the Spanish, so it's both horrible and refreshing to see it in such a brazen fashion in a product which clearly gives not a care for the audience.

I'm not going to drag any of the voice cast into this because any personality they could possibly hope to infect the unholy trio (or sextet) with is drowned in those obnoxious high-pitch filters.  Physically the color coding begins and ends their personalities, especially since a plot point makes explicitly clear that they're interchangeable with toxic venom or deserted islands.  Jason Lee and David Cross don't escape as easily because they aren't animated, either in physical vitality or by computers.

It's on DVD now after grossing roughly $340 million worldwide, so any irresponsible parent looking to trap their daughter into hopelessly mimicking their oppositely gender peers or stereotyping different cultures knows how to spend their Saturday night.  This, of course, is only if your kids are too young for Breakfast At Tiffany's.  The rest of you can spend a horrible night in this fresh nightmare of sexism and idiocy.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011)
Directed by Mike Mitchell.
Screenplay by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger.
Starring Jason Lee and David Cross.

Posted by Andrew

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