A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while this movie is mostly OK for little kids, there's some innuendo and sassy language that children might mimic. Alvin in particular says mildly off-putting remarks like "You're hot" to Dave's date or "She wanted you" to Dave. They also tell Dave his music "sucks." There's also a fair amount of slapstick/cartoonish violence. Female backup singers and partygoers wear tight, revealing clothes. But overall, it's a mild kids' movie -- albeit one that's mired in product placement and overcommercialism.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Three chipmunks -- voiced by Justin Long (Alvin), Matthew Gray Gubler (Simon), and Jesse McCartney (Theodore) -- are kicked out of their pine tree home when it's chopped down and shipped to a record label's headquarters as a Christmas tree. They end up sneaking a ride with Dave (Jason Lee), a down-and-out song composer who's none too happy to discover he has new rodent pals. Eventually, of course, the trio starts singing and inspires Dave to write a Christmas song that wows an oily label exec (David Cross). The rest is chipmunk history.
Is it any good?
If the thought of high-pitched voices singing a rap version of the vintage Chipmunks hit "Witch Doctor" and Lipps Inc's "Funkytown" sends shivers of horror down your spine, this may not be for you. But if you and the kids are up for a silly adventure featuring cute, familiar characters, Alvin and the Chipmunks is a safe-if-not-stellar bet this holiday season, especially for the under-10 crowd.
The best part of the story is that kids will see the danger of living like a "rock star" all the time. Too many toys and not enough discipline -- not to mention way too much caffeine and too many late-night concert gigs -- make Alvin, Simon, and Theodore crave Dave's loving discipline. If only real children were as reasonable as fictional chipmunks...
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the media generally portrays young superstars. Do you think this movie is a realistic look at what life is like for kid stars? What kinds of pressures do they face?
Do you think kids in showbiz get to do whatever they want when they aren't working -- like Ian suggested -- or are they kept to a more "normal" routine, like Dave wanted?
Kids: Ask your parents if they prefer the movie Chipmunks or either of the older TV versions.
- In theaters: December 13, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: March 31, 2008
- Cast: David Cross, Jason Lee, Justin Long
- Director: Tim Hill
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Book Characters, Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some mild rude humor.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.