Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Road Chip (2015) - Movie Review


The plot: As Dave gets closer to his girlfriend Samantha (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), and the Chipmunks get closer to her vicious son Miles (Josh Green), Alvin and Miles realize that if the Dave and Samantha get married, they’ll be stuck with each other. Not wanting this to happening, they take a road trip to Miami, where Dave is producing music for pop star Ashley grey (Bella Thorne), to stop him from proposing.

After being pleased about the lack of LMFAO in the last film, imagine my chagrin at seeing RedFoo in the first scene of the film. Sometimes, it actively feels like a film is taunting me. Other than that, this continues the previous film’s path of downplaying the song covers and the music in general. While kind of strange, and ultimately making the idea of another Chipmunks movie redundant, the music is usually weak anyway so I won’t complain too much. That said, the music here is honestly a lot better than I was expecting. While a lot of the songs are bland and pretty forgettable, this film totally makes up for it in a single scene. Now, full disclosure here, the main reason I was dreading this film was because of how badly they butchered Uptown Funk in the trailer; if you can make that song sound bad, you’re in deep trouble. Then the actual scene with Uptown Funk happens in the film and, between the genuine energy on-screen and the brass-heavy instrumentation, I actually… enjoyed myself? Yeah, probably the last thing I was expecting to think while watching a Chipmunks film, but it happened. Based on that alone, the music checks out with me.

This is a road trip movie, so plot isn’t important in comparison to the set pieces that take place during it. Honestly, it’s just the same shtick from the last three films for most of it: Alvin causes mischief, Simon is the straight man and Theodore talks about food; set on shuffle for 90 minutes and you’re sorted. To shake things up at least a little, we have the initially sadistic Miles, whose personality slowly disappears the more he warms up to the Chipmunks, Bella Thorne as Ashley showing up in a couple of scenes (and not singing, despite playing a pop star) and barely featuring the Chippettes. Yeah, they’re hosting American Idol for most of the film, save for the obligatory musical number at the end, and completely absent from the events of the film. Means less flat characters to write for, so that ultimately ends up doing the film a service.

That also means that there is more room for Agent Suggs, who is easily the best part of the movie. Rather than just go through the film like he’s just doing it for the pay check like David Cross did, Tony Hale gives a Christopher Walken in The Country Bears performance and plays it dead straight. Thanks to how well he manages with his lines, he immediately raises the mood of every scene he’s in; he kind of makes the film worth watching just for him alone. Oh, and to see John Waters in a cameo where they name-drop Pink Flamingos. You know what, I’d normally question what kind of parents/kids it would take to get that reference, but I’ll let it pass because that was probably the funniest part of the entire film.

All in all, I can’t believe I’m about to say this but this was actually not that bad. The music, when we actually get it, is passable and even legitimately good in parts; good to see Mark Mothersbaugh start to redeem himself, given what else he’s been attached to lately. The jokes are only just above par for the series as a whole but, thanks to Agent Suggs carrying this film on his back in his scenes, I’d almost recommend this film just to see Tony Hale be entertainingly insane for every scene he’s in. Almost. It’s worse than Dumb & Dumber To, as this has nowhere near the kind of comedic timing or even intellect of that film. However, since the few good points about this film are legitimately good, this still fares better than the anti-musical Strange Magic.

1 comment:

  1. I think that Dave would propose to Samantha and lucky to have her and being apart of his life.