Who's In It: Zachary Levi, David Cross, Jason Lee and the voices of Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney, Amy Poehler, Anna Faris, Christina Applegate

The Basics: Chipmunk legal guardian Jason Lee breaks every bone in his body and winds up in one of those free French hospitals while his rodent children run amok in high school. Then bad guy record producer David Cross rustles up another batch of rival female chipmunks, the Chipettes, in the hopes of destroying Alvin, Simon and Theodore. This, of course, backfires, creating a coed chipmunk mega-alliance. There's also something going on with a singing competition to raise money for the high school's music program. The Chipmunk/Chipette supergroup sweep the whole thing. Sorry to ruin the ending for you.

What's The Deal: So, yeah, nothing here makes any sense at all. Like the Chipmunks are big rich pop stars but they also have to go to high school and fight for popularity. In real life there'd be a private tutor. Then they have to worry about this singing competition for some reason, even though if they wanted to they could just cancel it and save the high school's music program themselves because of being big rich pop stars. They also have to worry about high school jocks wanting to beat them up. And finally, the Chipettes start out as their rivals, become their first sexual awakening crush-objects and finally turn into their sisterly comrades, which is a pretty bizarre relationship trajectory for this or any movie. How much you care will depend on your age. For example, it would help if you could figure out how to become 10 years old or less.

Further Confusion: Can anyone explain the need for celebrity voice casting with these characters? It's all sped up so it's not like you can tell Justin Long from Amy Poehler here. I don't get it. In fact, for all we know, the singing voices are the same for both the male and the female chipmunks. I don't plan on hunting down a real explanation. I'm just sort of wondering aloud. I suspect the answer will make as much sense as why squirrel-like creatures have to go to high school.

How Much Parents Will Hate It: Not much. It's inoffensive, harmless silliness. Kids will only ask the questions I just did when they go off to college and see it on TV somewhere, sit down to look at it again because they loved it as children, then realize that it's the dumbest thing they've seen in forever. Thats also when they'll finally crack up at the line where Alvin threatens to crawl inside a bad guy and build a nest. To its credit, the movie doesn't dwell on the implications of this. It just bounces along.

Who Wins The Sing-Off: The Chipettes. The ladies perform a rousing, high-pitched version of "Single Ladies" and Katy Perry's "Hot N Cold." Meanwhile, the most memorable Chipmunk contribution to the soundtrack is a cover of Dead Or Alive's "U Spin Me Round." And they do that with the Chipettes. I was also a big fan of Alvin's impromptu "Staying Alive" solo where the lyrics were changed to be about eating cheeseballs.


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