Sour notes

Alvin and the Chipmunks

HOW CUTE<br>Jason Lee made friends.

Jason Lee made friends.

Alvin and the Chipmunks
Starring Jason Lee, David Cross and Cameron Richardson. Directed by Tim Hill. Feather River Cinemas, Paradise Cinema 7 and Tinseltown. Rated PG.

Another one of those blinkworthy projects where the suits brush the dust off of something in their back catalog and give it another play to milk some more money out of it. As such, it’s tedious stuff for the adults who actually remember Dave Seville and his knack for making money by playing audio tracks back at the wrong speed, but tolerable entertainment for the young’ns who might think it’s something fresh. And there’s enough dookie humor involved to keep them laughing.

As played back here, Dave (a hopefully slumming Jason Lee) is an amiable loser who inadvertently brings home the chipmunks in a purloined muffin basket. The orphaned forest rats settle in their new home comfortably and when Seville realizes that the CGI critters can do passable falsetto renditions of contemporary pop songs, he sets about using their talents to pay the rent.

Of course, there’s a girl involved who the rodents try to help Dave woo, and a Christmas motif to keep things seasonal. Along the way, the corporate overlords who produced this product take time to rewrap themselves as being an anti-corporate package. Other than that, it’s a lot of money spent on something so disposable. And to be fair, made tolerable with occasional flashes of whimsy that actually feel organic, this could have been much, much worse.

But as such, it’s your own lookout if you want to expose the kids to this, and suffer the endless replays of the obligatory soundtrack featuring shrill versions of songs you’re already sick of.