Movie review – Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
– by Adrian Mack
As a puckish satire of contemporary mores, 2007’s Alvin and the Chipmunks was hard to beat. Amazingly, Alvin and the Chipmunks: the Squeakquel is even better.
As Dave Seville, master Scientologist Jason Lee is sidelined early in the picture, left in traction in a hospital in Paris after something crazy happens to him (I don’t remember what).
Enter pathologically shy younger brother Toby Seville – given a brooding, animal sexuality by Zachary Levi (Wieners). He’s left to make sure the chipmunks attend high school after a tragic mishap at LAX puts his grandmother in hospital (I don’t remember what).
Dave = Granny
But, Toby = Dave (he even looks like him).
Here, director Betty Thomas (Private Parts) is playing with doubles, mirrors, and symmetries; plunging the viewer into a world of uncertain meaning. Parents are left to wonder, “Am I watching a kid’s movie or Vertigo on DMT?”
Kiddies meanwhile will be delighted by the slapstick antics of the Chipmunks as they take on high school jocks and a rival group of singing female Chipmunks managed by down-and-out former record exec Ian Wolfe (David Cross).
Naturally, passion blooms out of this loaded premise, and Alvin, Theodore, and Simon are left to grapple with their pubertal drives – most potently symbolized by the scene in which Alvin hucks the Wii remote through the TV. There’s a strong allusion to homosexual panic when fat little Simon is accidentally dutch-ovened by Toby, and Theodore’s ongoing confrontation with the football team speaks to common “size” issues. I couldn’t help but squirm, even as I was rolling in the aisles.
My daughter adds, “When Alvin went up and bonked Dave on stage at the start. That was funny, wasn’t it?”
Oh right, right — that’s why he ended up in hospital.