A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this third installment in the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie series is more of the same -- lots of pop culture references, physical comedy, and a few suggestive moments. There's nothing overly troublesome in Chip-Wrecked, but young kids might be frightened when the Chipmunks wind up on the deserted island, especially when its lone inhabitant turns on them and captures a Chipette. Two of the chip-characters engage in an overt flirtation and (tame) romance; Alvin also tries to hit on a woman who's gambling at a casino, and the Chipettes wear notably short outfits. The movie's ultimate message is one of family and friendship, but it's a bit buried underneath the sense that the whole thing is a commercial for Chipmunks merchandise.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In this third installment of the Alvin and Chipmunks franchise, Dave (Jason Lee) takes the Chipmunks -- Alvin (voiced by Justin Long), Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler), and Theodore (Jesse McCartney) -- and the Chipettes -- Brittany (Christina Applegate), Jeanette (Anna Faris), and Eleanor (Amy Poehler) -- on a Carnival cruise for their family vacation. After a series of cruiseline shenanigans, the Chipmunks and Chipettes wind up overboard and on a deserted island where they meet Zoe (Jenny Slade), who has been a castaway for years and talks to an assortment of sports balls for company. Dave follows the Chipmunks with former boss Ian (David Cross) to attempt a rescue mission.
Is it any good?
Kids aren't overly picky when it comes to movies, so they'll be pleased with chirpy-sounding Chipmunks who sing and dance to covers of hit pop songs. Kids will also live vicariously through the six 'munks as they wreak havoc on the cruise ship and somehow manage to survive under precarious circumstances on a deserted island. Alvin is a prankster with heart; Simon changes (like Buzz Lightyear's Spanish-speaking interlude in Toy Story 3) into a bolder, French version of himself; and Theodore overcomes his fear of a jungle monster.
But parents may find themselves fighting a snooze as all of the "chipwrecked" hijinks unfold on screen. There's little to keep a grown-up's attention here, although audiences familiar with Cast Away will laugh the first time Zoe references her "ball" friends (unfortunately, the joke quickly grows tiresome). And there are a few iffy sequences, like when the Chipettes challenge a trio of Jersey Shore-esque clubgoers to a dance-off -- it's a lot of attitude and finger wagging and "oh no she didn'ts." In the end, you might wish you didn't have to sit through another Chipmunks tale ever again.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the relationship between Dave and the Chipmunks is depicted. How does Alvin learn about the consequences of his behavior?
Are the Chipettes too suggestive in their dances and song choices? Would it be different if the characters were human instead of chipmunks?
What does Simon learn about his personality after "waking up" from being the more adventurous, flirtatious "French" Simon?
- In theaters: December 16, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: March 27, 2012
- Cast: Anna Faris, Jason Lee, Justin Long
- Director: Mike Mitchell
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 87 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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