It’s probably quite a few people’s idea of hell – being trapped on a desert island with Alvin and The Chipmunks for ear-drum-testing company.
Yet this is the premise for the third in the phenomenally successful series, featuring Alvin – and now The Chipettes – getting into scrapes, winding up (sort of) dad Dave (Lee) and belting out chart fodder with that love-it-or-loathe-it helium gas-assisted falsetto.
After causing mayhem on a luxury cruise liner, mischievous Alvin, Simon and Theodore plus The Chipettes are accidentally hauled off the ship on the end of a kite and washed up on a seemingly deserted volcanic island.
Not far behind, a beside-himself Dave plus the chipmunks’ erstwhile nemesis, slimy record company boss Ian (Cross), also find themselves pitching up on the island.
Straying into the jungle, the chipmunks chance upon Zoe (Slate), a castaway whose ten years alone on the island means she regards an assortment of basket, tennis and footballs as friends. Yes, she’s mentally ill.
Alvin and co also learn that there’s a cache of treasure hidden behind a waterfall…but first they’ve got to find Dave and escape the threat of the volcano, which has just started ominously smoking.
Fans of the series will know exactly what to expect…and won’t go home disappointed after being served up the traditional banquet of singing’n’dancin’ setpieces, mild disagreements and heartwarming conclusions following mild peril.
Cross’s shifty Ian – who spends the whole movie in a duck costume – gets the best lines and is probably the one character who comes closest to subverting what is a wearyingly safe formula.
Still, with Alvin and the Chipmunks – think a baker’s dozen of Justin Biebers in a furry costume - your audience wouldn’t thank you for anything they haven’t seen before.