Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel

  • Review Date: December 14, 2009
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Amusing, silly sequel has a bit more edge than original.
  • Review Date: December 14, 2009
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Probably the most important lesson here is to avoid peer pressure and believe in yourself and/or your family, but it's not the movie's main focus.

Positive messages

Alvin learns to overcome his arrogance and need for acceptance -- i.e. joining the football team -- and fulfill his responsibilities to his family. Alvin's brothers refuse to perform without him because their act has always been about teamwork rather than any individual. Eleanor begins to feel bad about her body image but learns to accept herself the way she is. The evil talent agent and school bully are both humiliated as punishment for their behavior. The movie portrays video games as a means to avoid social interaction and family time.

Positive role models

Alvin isn't an ideal role model, though he does learn his lesson and adjusts his arrogant behavior. None of the adult characters is really very admirable either, but Simon and Theodore continually show good, strong behavior -- they're the ones who emphasize family and call Alvin on his bad conduct. They also re-affirm confidence in personal body image, as well as cleanliness, politeness, and other positive attributes.

Violence & scariness

Theodore develops a fear of being scooped up by an eagle, and there's some scary eagle imagery, but he eventually overcomes his fear. The movie has a jock bully in the high school scenes (with a couple of toilet "swirly" scenes), and there's an evil talent agent who locks his chipmunk clients in cages (though the scenes are all ultimately meant to be funny). Theodore feels alone and sad when Alvin and Simon argue, but the movie usually ends these moments with a humorous note.

Sexy stuff

The Chipettes perform their act with some suggestive hip-wiggling. The boy chipmunks and the girl chipmunks all develop crushes on one another, but nothing more than some googly eyes and a bit of mild flirting results (in one scene, Eleanor trips and falls into Theodore's arms). Among the human characters, Toby has a crush on a former schoolmate, but he's too shy to act on it. They hug at the end.

Language

Use of cruel comments. Some uses of the word "butt," and some "fat" jokes -- like "junk in the trunk." One character calls another one a "big jerk."

Consumerism

Featured brands/products include Apple computers and iPhones, FedEx, YouTube, and Animal Planet. Characters also spend some time playing Wii (though the movie's attitude toward playing video games is that it's a waste of time).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel is low-key, amusing entertainment for both parents and kids, with a mix of verbal and slapstick humor and only a few crude jokes. With the introduction of girl Chipmunk group The Chipettes comes some flirting and suggestive hip-wiggling (similar to that of sexy starlets like Beyoncé and Shakira), which -- along with the infrequent use of phrases like "junk in the trunk" -- makes this sequel a little edgier than the original. But overall the movie focuses on family, togetherness, and acceptance and deals positively with school and peer pressure. Though the issue of body image comes up (at times, Theodore's weight is called to attention, as is that of his female counterpart, Eleanor), ultimately the message is one of liking yourself for who you are.

Parents say

What's the story?

After an onstage mishap, Dave (Jason Lee) lands in a Paris hospital, and the Chipmunks wind up under the care of his doofus cousin Toby (Zachary Levi). Going to school for the first time, brothers, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore discover girls, bullies, and peer pressure; Alvin (voiced by Justin Long) is coaxed into joining the football team, which takes him away from his singing duties. Meanwhile, evil talent agent Ian (David Cross) returns -- having discovered all-girl chipmunk singing group The Chipettes -- and uses his same old nasty tactics to catapult the girls into the limelight. Trouble comes when Alvin's first big game falls on the same day as the big school talent show ... and The Chipettes are the main competition.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Not so much good as it is low-key, amusing, and painless, this "squeakquel" from director Betty Thomas (The Brady Bunch Movie, Dr. Dolittle) has enough funny one-liners and bits of physical humor to entertain both kids and parents (especially if the parents are already Chipmunk fans). Crude humor is kept to a minimum, but Alvin's attempts at teen hipster talk may annoy parents and inspire impressionable kids to imitate him. And the Chipettes' dancing is designed to suggest many of today's pop starlets (Beyonce, Shakira, etc.) with some suggestive hip-wiggling.

But these quibbles come surprisingly infrequently. Overall, the movie doesn't try too hard for viewers' affections (it doesn't jump in your lap like a yapping puppy) and moves with speed and confidence. The songs are fun, the chipmunks are likeable, and the movie seems to have its heart in the right place. It may inspire some giggles and unexpected smiles from the whole family.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about peer pressure. Why did Alvin join the football team, especially when he knew the game would conflict with the talent show? What did he hope to gain? Were the bullies really his friends?

  • How does the movie approach the subject of body image? Would it be different if the characters dealing with the issue were human instead of chipmunks?

  • Cousin Toby has spent a lot of time playing and mastering video games, but what good has it done him?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 23, 2009
DVD release date:March 30, 2010
Cast:Jason Lee, Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Zachary Levi
Director:Betty Thomas
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Book characters, Music and sing-along
Run time:88 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some mild rude humor

This review of Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel was written by

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Quality

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Kid, 11 years old April 21, 2010
Adult Written bynduns April 18, 2010
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

You know what really pains me?

The fact that so many parents chose this, a poorly written, contrived cash grab over a well-written film, aka, The Princess and the Frog, and it's all thanks to this that Disney has changed the title of Rapunzel to Tangled and changed the main characters around while also taking away some of the serious nature it was originally supposed to have. Thanks, parents, thank you for making that happen. Now that the rant's out of the way, I must apologize. I don't normally take my frustration out on the audience as the writing staff play a bigger part in it. It just really saddens me that good companies have thrown away their talent in favor of mind-rotting bulltripe simply because movies like this do better at the box office. This is just showing how sad mankind has gotten. Now what can I say about the Squeakquel? Well, while I did find it a little better than the first one, it's still stupid beyond all belief. I still can't get over how they portray Simon in these movies. In the show, he could actually show us that he was smart. In the movies... okay, he uses big words, but that's about it. Other than that, he makes just as dumb of decisions as everyone else. They also took away everything that could have made Theodore likable as if having a personality would have made him less cute! Here's a message, parents: No sane person who watched these two would possibly think the upcoming Chipmunks 3D will be any good! We know it's only going to be a visual film and not a story-driven one! Pixar is releasing Toy Story 3 around that time! Take your kids to that instead and maybe Disney will be convinced not to cancel their upcoming King of Elves project like they've been rumored to be thinking of.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byperfectionist January 10, 2010
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

okay

Better than the first. But the voices of the chipmunks didn't stop giving me a head ache.

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