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This rodent tale squeaks by

All that’s missing in this film is Tom Hanks and “Wilson.”

Twentieth Century Fox

All that’s missing in this film is Tom Hanks and “Wilson.”

Life's a beach for our CGI chipmunk pals as Alvin, Simon and Theodore end up stranded on a deserted island when their cruise-ship vacation goes awry and . . .

I'm sorry, is this really necessary? Let's be honest. Either you're eagerly anticipating Chipwrecked, the third installment in the lucrative Alvin and the Chipmunks series, or you've opted to avoid these films like the plague. Nothing in this review will persuade a non-fan to unleash their inner 'munk, and no opinion put forth could possibly dissuade the substantial Alvin audience from handing over hard-earned cash to learn which dated Lady Gaga hits the singing rodents cover next.

At best, I can tell you what to expect from Chipwrecked so you're not completely set adrift without a rudder.

As usual, Alvin (voiced by Justin Long) remains the chipmunks' chief instigator while the three embark on an ocean-spanning trip with their beleaguered agent/parent, Dave (Jason Lee). The mischievous critter's latest prank gets his fuzzy mates — and their adorable female counterparts, the Chipettes — tied up in a parasail that carries them off the starboard side of a cruise ship and onto a tropical island that they believe to be uninhabited.

Faster than we can sing "a three-hour cruise," screenwriters Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger zigzag through musty Cast Away jokes, stage a musical sequence to Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine's ancient dance number Rhythm Is Gonna Get You, and establish a bizarre running joke that references Nicolas Cage's 2001 weeper, Captain Corelli's Mandolin.

We're introduced to Zoe (Jenny Slate), a FedEx pilot who tells the chipmunks she's been stranded on the island for eight or nine years. (Hello, Tom Hanks? Anyone?)

Just don't ask why her clothes are clean, her hair is perfect and she hasn't run out of eye makeup. And sensible chipmunk Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler) reveals a swashbuckling split personality named Simone (Alan Tudyk) after an indigenous spider injects him with neurotoxins.

Side note: Is it common knowledge that Long, currently seen on Fox's New Girl opposite Zooey Deschanel, voices Alvin? How about the fact that three comedic superstars lend their pipes to the Chipettes? That would be Amy Poehler, Christina Applegate and Anna Faris — extremely gifted comedians who should have their pick of better projects.

But I digress. The Chipmunks have a very loyal audience — the previous two films crossed the $200 million mark at the box office — and Chipwrecked serves up more of the derivative chaos that floats this franchise's boat. Fans will consider it an early Christmas present. Detractors will be happy to sing a different tune.


Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

Rating: G

Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes

This rodent tale squeaks by 12/16/11 [Last modified: Friday, December 16, 2011 7:18pm]
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