When the people of the world all know beauty as beauty,
There arises the recognition of ugliness
When they all know the good as good,
There arises the recognition of evil."

-The Way of Lao-tzu

Chipwrecked is a mind-numbing piece of uninspired baloney, meant only to pacify hyperactive children. I never laughed once at the Chipettes in towels talking about "whipping [their] tail[s] back and forth" like furry Willow Smiths, or the dated Castaway references, or the cockeyed pelican skulking around a Carnival cruise ship spilling gravy in Jason Lee's lap. The only time my mouth even vaguely turned up in a smile was when Theodore, my favorite of the Chipmunks, went bungee jumping and because he was so heavy, ended up falling headfirst into the sand. That poor little cutie--he just likes eating so much. Anyway, this movie is so lackluster that it made the previous two films look like Academy Award winners.

The first movie made me laugh. The second one, less so, but they both had plots that were relatively interesting and they had moments that generated real emotions. I was aghast at how selfish Alvin was, reveled in Brittany's beauty, and felt compassion for the other chipmunks because they were chubby or had glasses. Jason Lee appeared to be pleased with himself, participating in family friendly flicks and using his strong vocal cords in the timeless role of the Chipmunks' human caregiver Dave. Those were the glory days. Back when animated movies about singing vermin had a soul. Or at least comparatively.

Chipwrecked is just a series of dizzying bits--a dance competition, skating on the deck of a cruise ship, fighting over a mango, etc. This means your kids are going to be moderately engaged, as per usual with anything brightly colored and adorably high-pitched. But you, as their human caregiver, are going to be checking your watch. The Chipmunks and Chipettes are supposed to perform at the International Music Awards, so they take a cruise there, but of course Alvin ruins it by getting them all stranded on a desert island instead, while Dave and a surprising companion desperately try to find them. It's so empty that it pales in comparison to the sophisticated-yet-adorable writing we've become spoiled with lately in our animated movies. That gleam in Jason Lee's eye has glazed over, suggesting that now daddy needs a seventh Maserati so he is compartmentalizing the pain away.

I don't think every animated movie has to be made by Pixar or Dreamworks to be worth watching. I just want it to stir something inside of me. This one has the depth of Gnomeo and Juliet minus the cuteness of the lawnmower (only if you saw that movie do you know what an insult this is). There are about 800,000 better ways to spend your time. Even if you need a break from making popsicle stick crafts with the kids, go see something that has a soul--and there are plenty this holiday season. I'm sorry Theodore--your dazzling green eyes are usually enough to make me go "aww" as you eat too many donuts. This time though, I wish you and all your friends had stayed adrift at sea so you could never bore anyone again.

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