By Liz Lopez

Rating: B-

The Chipmunks music began in the 1950s as a novelty and probably, the animated music group was not originally anticipated to remain popular over fifty years later, appealing to multiple generations. Alvin, Simon, Theodore, managed by their human “father,” David (Dave) Seville, grew to have The Chipmunk Song become a number-one single in the United States. Their popularity grew into animated cartoon productions and feature films. I can’t recall viewing the first in the franchise, Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007), but in 2009, I saw Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (both voiced in dialogue by Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney). Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011) was subsequently released. All the films have a mixture of live action and CGI-animation and now four years later, the fourth installment arrives, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, with more of the same.

The latest Chipmunk adventure script is by Randi Mayem Singer (Mrs. Doubtfire) and Adam Sztykiel (Due Date) and directed by Walt Becker (Wild Hogs). It is not required to view any of the prior films, because there is no series or continuation of a story about Alvin, Simon and Theodore landing in a heap of trouble and then forgiven, again. But families love the trio and continue to share the experience with younger members in the family, making it a billion dollar enterprise. To their favor, I actually liked the story of Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip more than the previous films, as they navigate the experience of possibly becoming a blended family after the trio of singers have public encounters with their potential teenage “step – brother,” Miles (Josh Green).

In The Road Chip, Dave (Jason Lee) has placed a “pause” on the extensive performing and traveling by   Alvin (voiced by Justin Long), Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler) and Theodore (Jesse McCartney) while he too has a new career. His new client, Ashley (Bella Thorne), is about to release her new pop production in Miami and needs to make a trip, but he only has “a plus one.” His choice is a new love, Samantha (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), a single mother and emergency room doctor. The adventures begin when Alvin, Simon and Theodore are left behind with Miles, Samantha’s teenage son. The only thing in common for these four fellows is to keep Dave and Samantha from being a formal couple so their lives don’t change.

New to this feature film is the frantic federal air marshal (Tony Hale), who tries to “bring down” the Chipmunks in not too humorous ways. There are brief scenes that include the lovely Chipettes (voiced by Kaley Cuoco, Anna Faris and Christina Applegate) that have a more prominent role in the 2011 film.

Of course, Dave yells “Alvin!”

The 1 hour and 26 minute film has a PG MPAA rating for some mild rude humor and language.

Take your babies and grandbabies. They should find out who The Chipmunks are, at least once.

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