Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel is a kids comedy that screams "Direct to DVD." It doesn't help that it screams that in high, squeaky, three-part harmony.
Whatever slim charms there were in the nostalgic, musically cute and slapstick-friendly first film of chipmunk mania are squished right out of The Squeakuel like so much rodent roadkill.
Apparently, Fox blew the budget on tunes. Songs from Beyonce and Katy Perry to the Bee Gees and the Kinks are amusingly covered by competing bands of harmonizing forest fauna.
Alvin, Simon and Theodore take a step back from fame to go to West Eastman High School, where they cope with bullies, girls, budget cuts to the school music program and Alvin's (voiced by Justin Long) egomania. He's all about fitting in with the jocks, ditching his nerdy brothers, slinging the slang.
"BOO-yah! It is on like Donkey Kong!"
They do it all without their "Dad," David Seville ( Jason Lee, wisely opting to do his few scenes in traction in a hospital room). So Dave's irresponsible, video-game addict cousin Toby (Zachary Levi) is put in charge.
Levi (TV's "Chuck" and "Less Than Perfect") didn't phone this in — he texted.
A Destiny's Child-inspired counter-group, The Chipettes, shows up to shake their money makers, tempt the boys and sing "(Single Ladies) Put a Ring on It" and other recent girl-group hits. The film credits Anna Faris, Amy Poehler and Christina Applegate with doing their voices.
The script — Jon Vitti, Jonathan Abel and Glenn Berger will be deleting this from their resumes — has one laugh in it. One. If you don't know what "Dutch Oven!" means in relation to flatulence, ask your kids.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Sqeakuel 1 star (out of 4)
Stars: Jason Lee and voices of Justin Long, Anna Faris, Amy Poehler and Christina Applegate
Director: Betty Thomas
Running time: 88 minutes
Rated PG: Some mild rude humorCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times