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Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip

Posted on December 17, 2015 at 5:13 pm

Copyright Fox 2000 2015
Copyright Fox 2000 2015

About five minutes after it began, the long-suffering Dave (Jason Lee, looking tired and oh so over this) comes home to find that the irrepressable little singing chipmunks in the midst of a wild party with a half-pipe set up in the back-yard and LMFAO’s Redfoo working the turntables as DJ. Two-thirds of the dear little creatures experience flatulence, which middle chipmunk Theodore (the hungry, chunky one) describes as “pizza toots.” Sigh. Later on, when one of the chipmunks is hiding inside a character’s clothes as he goes through TSA, pee and poop come out the character’s pant leg. And another character gets pooped on by a bird. Yes, this is that movie. It’s so proud of its potty humor that most of it is featured in the trailer.

Once again our little scamps create chaos and destruction wherever they go. Dave wails, “AAAAAAAAlvin!” Then he scolds them. Then he forgives them. Rinse and repeat.

Dave has two developments in his life, and it is the task of the Chipmunks to create as many complications and catastrophes as possible to impede both of them. First, there is the release of a new album he produced from Taylor Swift-style pop artist Ashley (Bella Thorne), at a big, splashy event in Miami. Second, there is a new woman in Dave’s life. Her name is Shira (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), she is a heart surgeon (but so adorably ditzy that she keeps forgetting that her stethoscope is still around her neck), and she has a son named Miles (Josh Green, a welcome bright spot we hope to see in a better movie soon). When the chipmunks discover an engagement ring just before Dave and Shira are about to leave for Miami, they decide to hide the ring and, when that doesn’t work, they decide to go to Miami to prevent Dave and Shira from getting engaged. At this point, their relationship with Miles is one of outright hostility, but he shares the goal of keeping Dave and Shira apart, so they set off for Miami together.

After various hijinks, they are put on the no-fly list by air marshall Benson (Tony Hale, slumming and looking glum about it) who makes it his personal vendetta to hunt them down as they make their way to Miami, finding (duh) that they and Miles kinda like each other.  This road trip, I mean road chip, provides opportunities for musical numbers. The choreography by Richmond and Anthony Talauega is joyously inventive.  Unfortunately, the “singing” is just the same sped-up buzzy drone sound that Dave Seville (Ross Bagdasarian) came up with for a novelty Christmas record back in 1958.

Parents should know that this movie includes potty humor and slapstick peril and violence. There are some issues of fears of parental abandonment and actual parental abandonment.

Family discussion: Why did Miles lie about his father? Why didn’t Miles want to like Dave and the chipmunks? Which is your favorite chipmunk and why?

If you like this, try: the earlier chipmunk movies and the “Garfield” movies

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Based on a television show Comedy Family Issues Scene After the Credits Series/Sequel Talking animals

Amish Grace

Posted on September 13, 2010 at 7:54 am

B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Profanity: None
Alcohol/ Drugs: None
Violence/ Scariness: Tragic deaths, grief
Diversity Issues: A theme of the movie
Date Released to Theaters: March 28, 2010
Date Released to DVD: September 14, 2010
Amazon.com ASIN: B003V3FSO6

The highest-rated Lifetime Movie Network film, “Amish Grace,” is out on DVD this week and well worth viewing. It is based on the true story of a devastating tragedy and the example of courage, compassion, and forgiveness that inspired the nation. Even those who separate themselves from the temptations and dangers of the modern world can sometimes find themselves facing unspeakable loss that threatens the most devoted belief in God’s purpose. In this story, a community we often think of as sheltered, even quaint, taught the rest of the world a lesson in putting belief into action.

A disturbed gunman killed five Amish children and injured five more before turning his gun on himself. The Amish community immediately reached out to his wife with gentleness and sympathy. This story focuses on one agonized mother (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), who struggles with anger and grief as she tries to live up to her principles. Her husband says, “It is not easy to forgive, Ida. The Lord does not ask us to walk an easy path… But this I know — faith when everything is as you want it to be is not true faith. It is only when our lives are falling apart that we have the chance to make our faith real.”

Be sure to read my interview with one of its young stars, Karley Scott Collins. I have three copies to give away. Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with “Amish” in the subject line and tell me why this story is so important. Don’t forget to include your address. The first three to write in will get copies of the DVD.

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