To enjoy the latest in a franchise burning a big hole in the pockets of many families that entertains the small fry while grating for their older counterparts you have to embrace an incessant antiseptic, cheesy absurdity.
Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked again features Jason Lee and David Cross, as well as the voices of Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, and Jesse McCartney, as Lee's Dave takes the troublesome Alvin (Long) and friends on cruise vacation prior to their important appearance at the International Music Awards. With Simon and Theodore (voiced by Gubler and McCartney), as well as the Chipettes (Christina Applegate, Anna Faris, and Amy Poehler), a rascally Alvin ends up getting them (also Dave and ex-manager Ian, played by Cross) lost on an uninhabited island. There, in the nonsensically slightest of scripting by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, a volcano is about to release its magma while they have to deal with a wild, treasure-hunter of a castaway Zoe (Jenny Slate).
Even though its hard to comprehend much of the high-pitched line readings many verbal (and visual) gags abound in a certain cynical logical subversion. Nods to pictures like Spider-Man and Cast Away, as well as Raiders of the Lost Ark adds to the filmmakers' attempts of droll unoriginality, trying to earn a modicum of respect from the adults who'll see the crazy escapade for what it is. As the conflict is mischievously staged as a contrived parable by Mike Mitchell in favor of becoming less complacent and more mature, the sweetness is too arbitrary with nothing seemingly at stake during all the animated antics.
Another critic-proof movie for sure in another installment destined for nine figure box-office returns, ardent followers will like some of the tweaking (at least of a couple) of the Chipmunks with their individual characteristics to help infuse its own irrelevant earthy brand of comedy and romantic discord. Chipwrecked leaves up or down to its moniker depending how you look at it, seemingly insistent and divided at the same time. But don't fret, the kids know this departing adventure from the usual musical atmosphere is ridiculous, stunted, unintelligible amusement knowing how to facilitate its odd, corny but oh so cute critters' talents.