The second adventure for Alvin and his furry brothers is "The Squeakquel", which opens with them on a world tour. Unfortunately for their human pal, Dave (Jason Lee), Alvin tries a stunt on stage that sends him to the hospital (and, aside from a couple of scenes, out of the movie.)
In steps Dave's nephew, Toby (Zachary Levi, of TV's "Chuck"), who learns a few lessons of his own while taking care of the rodents. Fresh off their world tour, Alvin, Simon and Theodore find themselves dropped off at high school (which is a little odd, as they don't look old enough to be going to high school.) Once there, they quickly grab the attention of the girls in school (and the chipmunks flirt back - the world of this film must be playing by Brian Griffin rules.)
Not surprisingly, this leads to bullying by the school jocks, who are not pleased to see the attention taken away from them. Strangely, after a few moments, the jocks see Alvin's sport skills and suddenly everything's okay, as they grab him for the football team. This, of course, leaves Simon and Theodore feeling left out.
While the Chipmunks believe they're the headline act for the school benefit, they are soon faced with their old nemesis, Ian (David Cross), who is now managing the Chipettes, Brittany (Christina Applegate), Jeanette (Anna Faris), and Eleanor (Amy Poehler), and has turned them against the Chipmunks, who they were fans of.
The rest of the film consists of Alvin learning his lesson and Ian losing in the end, although not likely learning his lesson. The material is a little scattered - the bullies hate Alvin one minute because he's flirting with the girls, then like him a minute later because he is good at football? Additionally, the Chipettes seem shoehorned into the plot and don't really have much to do of interest. Also, having the Chipmunks go to high school is a little off, as the target audience - I'm guessing - is in the mid-single digits. Finally, Levi - while an appealing actor - often looks as if he's distracted.
Still, there's something about it that works just well enough to keep the attention (and if I can watch the film later in the evening without falling asleep, that's at least saying something.) I'll give credit to director Betty Thomas, who has a history of making decent movies out of iffy material. The surprise in the credits is writer Jon Vitti, a frequent writer for "The Simpsons". The picture gets a few funny lines (most of them random, throwaway bits, such as Theodore's love of "Meerkat Manor") through at times, although one would expect a bit more with the involvement of a frequent "Simpsons" writer (the co-writer is Jonathan Aibel, "Kung Fu Panda", "Monsters and Aliens").
Overall, "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" certainly isn't outstanding family fare, but the target audience will likely find it at least moderately entertaining.
This set includes a Blu-Ray edition, a DVD edition and a digital copy edition.
VIDEO: "The Squeakquel" is presented by 20th Century Fox in 1.85:1 (1080p/AVC) and the results are satisfactory. Sharpness and detail are pleasing, as while the presentation didn't appear crystal clear, it did at least look consistently crisp and detailed.
However, some issues did arise at times, including some scattered instances of edge enhancement, as well as light noise in a few scenes. The elements used appeared pristine, with no specks, marks or other faults. Colors appeared bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other faults. Overall, this was a standard presentation from the studio.
SOUND: The film is presented in DTS-HD 5.1. Audio quality is just fine, although surround activity is limited, aside from reinforcement during a few of the musical scenes. Audio quality was fine, with crisp dialogue and no distortion or other faults.
EXTRAS: A boatload of short featurettes are offered: "Making History" (a look into the history of the characters), "Meet the Chipettes" (an introduction to the characters), "Music Maniac" (a look into a main concert sequence), "Behind the Squeaking" (a spoof), "Meet the Stuffies" (the "stand-ins" for the main characters), "Shake Your Groove Thing" (a dance instruction from the film's choreographer), "A-Nutomy of a Scene" (har har) and "Rockin' Rising Stars". We also get a "jump to a scene" feature, music videos, a trivia track and BD-Live capability.
Final Thoughts: Overall, "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" certainly isn't outstanding family fare, but the target audience will likely find it at least moderately entertaining. The Blu-Ray edition offers satisfactory video quality, fine audio and a handful of supplements.
The Film C+