Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Alvin and the Chipmunks

posted by Nell Minow
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild rude humor.
Profanity:Some mild language
Alcohol/Drugs:Champagne, wine coolers, coffee jitters
Violence/Scariness:Comic peril and violence
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:December 14, 2007
DVD Release Date:April 7, 2008


Novelty songwriter Ross Bagdasarian noticed that speeding up the audio recordings creatd a high-pitched sound in 1958, and used that technique in his song “The Witch Doctor.” It was a hit. And so, he created the singing chipmunks, Simon, Theodore, and AAAAAlvin. Their record-breaking Christmas song sold four and a half million records in seven weeks — a record not broken until the Beatles — and won two Grammy awards. The high pitch of the voices was the novelty, but what made the record a hit was the relationship between Bagdasarian, who chose the stage name Dave Seville after the Spanish town he had been stationed in during the second World War, and the chipmunks, scholarly Simon, cheery Theodore, and especially mischievous Alvin. It became a franchise, with more records, an animated television series, product endorsements, and “appearances” with real-life rock stars. What was left? A feature-length movie, inspired by the origin story. But any charm in the original idea has been diluted and all that remains is packaging. It is 9/10 product placement, 1/10 filler.

  • Steve

    This is ridiculous. How can Alvin and the Chipmunks, a movie intended for children, get a C? “Butt” and “sucks” are not bad words. Getting caffeine jitters from mocha drinks isn’t bad. Your kids already drink caffeine, so the suggestion that they can get ‘jitters’ from them isn’t news. My biggest shock is that Superbad and Knocked Up received better grades than this movie. If you were my mom, I would hate you with a fiery passion.

  • Steve

    I know I just commented, but I felt it was necessary to add this detail. You are a mother, as we all know. Talk to your kids. They most likely hate you with all their heart. There are three possible outcomes of raising your child this way.
    1: He or she grows up hating you with all his or her heart, and avoids you once he or she reaches adulthood.
    2: He or she gets out into the real world and fails miserably, since he or she grew up so sheltered and unaware.
    3: He or she rebels, most likely in the form of doing all the things you act against; skipping school, cursing, sex, drugs, etc.
    Before you tell other parents how to control your kids, you should learn how to raise your own.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks for writing, Steve. The reason I gave “Alvin and the Chipmunks” a poor grade was not because of the caffeine or the naughty words. It was because it is not a good movie. I don’t recommend movies based on the absence of offensive material. I recommend movies based on whether it is worth watching. And I rate films based on their aspirations and their intended audience. “Superbad” is a far better movie for its audience, much smarter and wiser and funnier than “Alvin and the Chipmunks” is. I hope that helps make my view clear, but please write again any time. I enjoyed your comments.

  • Steve

    OK, clearly I had a misunderstanding of what this website is. However, you saying “I enjoyed your comments” simply emphasizes your ignorance. The second comment I wrote wasn’t supposed to be something to enjoy or laugh at. Rather than shrugging it off, how about you actually take someone else’s advice?
    You’re worse than Bill O’Reilly. At least he acknowledges and mentions it when someone says something. Instead, you simply say “I enjoyed it.” Quit being so asinine and realize that a crack whore could raise her children better.

  • Nell Minow

    So, responding substantively to your comments is worse than Bill O’Reilly, who responds by telling people to shut up? I’m still not sure what your advice is about raising my children — to take them to “Alvin and the Chipmunks?” Not doing so harms them in what way?
    Since you are advocating taking advice, here is some for you. Try to stay away from the whole insult thing. It diminishes the credibility of the point you are trying to make. Arguments have to be based on facts and logic, and generally people who resort to insults do so because the facts and logic are not on their side. Some people would assume that anyone so rude must also be ignorant, but fortunately I have raised teenagers so I know better. Whether you wanted me to or not, probably because I have raised teenagers, I did enjoy your comments and look forward to hearing from you again.

  • S F

    You are clearly insane. Stop looking at this website if you don’t like it. No one wants to read what you are writing.

  • calliaz

    When I first started reading Movie Mom’s reviews on Yahoo!, I also wondered if these were reviews purely meant to disparage movies that had “questionable” morals or foul language. To the contrary, what I have found is an honest review of the movie along with information that helps me understand if it is something appropriate for my child (or even if it is something I would enjoy myself). Parental Guidance is great, but I am not going to spend time and money to preview a movie before I take my child. I am also trying to help him view appropriate films for his age. I am not a one for censorship; however, I am a parent and it is my job to help my kid navigate the tons of media available. Movie Mom really helps me do that by providing factual information geared towards the areas I am concerned about (language, violence, scary themes, etc.).
    I won’t be taking my son (5) to see Alvin and the Chipmunks and I am glad to have Movie Mom’s information to help me make that decision.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks so much calliaz. You made my day. This is just what I hope people will find in my reviews and comments.

  • a mom

    This was the first time I’ve used this site to help me decide on a movie for my kids. Unfortunately, it is the last time. Too much time insulting each other and not enough time talking about the movie. Contradictory views are good and even helpful but not when full of ire. Just wish people could be more considerate of each other.

  • Briana

    I grew up watching Alvin and the Chipmunks cartoon movies. Alvin was the clever oe, Simon was logical, and Theodore was a scardycat. Now simon’s all different. He doesn’t try to stop Alvin anymore. It’s just not the same.

  • atiya

    I’ts just a movie.You can’t take this seriusly and it seems you were looking pretty hard to find faults in this film. Kids aren’t going to interpret all of the “potty jokes” so I think you should go see it agian and this time enjoy it.

  • prosp

    Steve’s comments are definitely a troll post, so don’t let them get you going. (for those that don’t know – a troll is someone who posts controversial messages in an on-line community such as an on-line discussion forum with the intention of baiting other users into responding emotionally)

  • Leslie

    I thought the movie was ok – some crude humor – but I was really thrown by the previews before the movie even began. 27 Dresses is rated PG-13 – this trailer was totally inappropriate to show right before a kids movie. Not happy – or sure whom to complain about this to???

  • Nell Minow

    There are very strict rules about what previews may be shown with movies for kids. To complain, get in touch with the National Association of Theater Owners and tell them the details — date, location, etc. Good luck, and let me know how it goes.
    National Association of Theatre Owners
    P.O. Box 77318
    Washington D.C. 20013-7318
    Tel. 202.962-0054
    Fax: 202.962-0370

  • Casey

    Hi, Movie Mum. I came across some minor mistakes in your review.
    In the first paragraph, you wrote ‘especially mischevious Alvin’. I think the correct spelling for ‘mischevious’ is actually ‘mischievous’.
    In the same paragraph, you also wrote ‘origin story’. Isn’t it supposed to be ‘original story’?
    I would also like to ask for opinion regarding the chipmunks. When I was young, I used to love the chipmunks a lot, especially their cute voice. But now that I’m an adult, I actually find their voices extremely annoying! And I didn’t think the movie was funny at the slightest bit. Do you feel the same way as well?

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks again, Casey! I have corrected the spelling. But “origin story” is correct — it is a term that is used for movies (or comic books or other media) like this one that take established characters and provide the “how they got where they are” background.
    And as you can tell from my review, I did not think it was funny, either. But a lot of people disagreed with us. It did very well at the box office and I expect there will be a sequel.

  • Joanne

    I haven’t seen this movie, but I heard that at the end one of the “bad guys” makes an extremely inappropriate comment in Spanish. Could you confirm or disprove this accusation?

  • Nell Minow

    I do not speak Spanish, Joanne, but I have not heard anything about any inappropriate comment in Spanish anywhere in the movie other than a “Madre de Dios” (Mother of God) exclamation.

  • Joanne

    Thanks for checking into that. That is much more tame than what I had heard! I’m still not going to run out and rent the movie. Thanks for the review.

  • Jaylon

    This indrtouces a pleasingly rational point of view.

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