Running time: 88 mins. Starring: Jason Lee, David Cross, Zachary Levi, Wendie Malick, Kathryn Joosten and the voices of Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jess McCartney, Christina Applegate, Amy Poehler, Anna Faris. Director: Betty Thomas.


THEY’RE not big, and the film’s certainly not clever, but there is something oddly entertaining about singing chipmunks.

In the same way that Babe’s helium-voiced mouse chorus was a delight, Alvin, Simon and Theodore’s high-pitched renditions of Bad Day by Daniel Powter and Funkytown by Lipps Inc in the first film had a certain cutesy charm.

For the sequel, the diminutive trio meet their match in three feisty females, who trill with attitude through Beyonce’s Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It), Hot N Cold by Katy Perry, So What by Pink and Corinne Bailey Rae’s Put Your Records On.

Girl power is alive and well in Alvin And The Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel.

Director Betty Thomas treads a familiar path, driving a wedge between the tiny heroes, then reuniting them for a foot-stomping finale to the strains of We Are Family by Sister Sledge and Shake Your Groove Thing by Peaches & Herb.

The simplistic, linear plot holds no surprises, incorporating a boo-hiss, high-school jock villain (who naturally gets his comeuppance), wholesome lessons about friendship and self-sacrifice, and chaste romance that nervously approaches the kissing stage.

If you didn’t like the original Alvin And The Chipmunks, it’s safe to say that the follow-up won’t shake your groove thing either.

The Squeakquel continues the story of singing critters Alvin (voiced by Long), Simon (Gubler) and Theodore (McCartney) in the cut-throat music business.

When the boys’ surrogate father Dave (Lee) is consigned to a hospital bed, the youngsters stay with nephew Toby (Levi) and Aunt Jackie (Joosten), who enrols the chipmunks at high school — where the pop stars secure the nomination to represent their classmates at a battle of the bands.

Aggrieved former manager Ian Hawke (Cross) enrols the Chipettes - aka Britney (Applegate), Eleanor (Poehler) and Jeanette (Faris) — at the very same school, then petitions headmistress Dr Rubin (Malick) to give the final vote to the student body.

The battle of the rodent sexes, Chipmunks versus Chipettes, tests friendships to the limit.