Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (2015)

Genres - Children's/Family, Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Animated Musical, Family-Oriented Comedy  |   Release Date - Dec 18, 2015 (USA)  |   Run Time - 92 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Dan Gelb

Remember the scene in A Clockwork Orange where Malcolm McDowell is strapped to a chair with his eyelids peeled open and forced to endure a torturous collage of images? That's how any human being above the age of six will feel if he or she is caught in a screening of Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip. The fourth installment (how?) in the Chipmunks' theatrical rebirth lacks any reason to exist, and considering the millions of dollars spent on its creation, practically constitutes a criminal offense.

Voiced by Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, and Jesse McCartney (though they all could have been voiced by James Earl Jones and no one would have cared), the Chipmunks are introduced to Samantha (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), the new girlfriend of their father Dave (Jason Lee). Things are getting serious between Dave and Samantha, and Alvin, Simon, and Theodore fear that marriage would mean they'd lose their beloved dad's attention. Meanwhile, Samantha's son Miles (a hugely punch-able Josh Green) torments the Chipmunks because of -- we're not kidding -- pent-up rage from his own father abandoning him at a young age. Dave and Samantha go on vacation to Miami, and the Chipmunks fear that he's about to propose to her. So, the 'Munks are forced to join forces with Miles as they chart a course to Miami to break up the proposal and keep Dave to themselves.

Along their trivial journey, Alvin and the rest engage in numerous musical numbers ripped from some studio exec's vision of what a Top 40 countdown looks like. If you've been dying to hear the Chipmunks perform "Turn Down for What" or "Uptown Funk" in their discordant, ear-piercing voices, then, boy, is this the movie for you. The whole thing is lethargic and stagnant, and the "road trip" aspect is a trite justification for this fourth film to exist. It's very clear that adults aren't the target audience here, but it's still going to sting when parents across the country fork over money for their kids to see this one. The Road Chip is bad, and anyone who cashed a check because of it should feel bad.