In a year that brought us Coraline, Where the Wild Things Are, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Princess and the Frog, and Up, how can you justify the existence of Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel as anything less than a mind-numbingly generic brand-name cash grab? It's a shame too, because I honestly like the Chipmunks -- or maybe I liked the Chipmunks. It has been almost twenty-five years since I watched them on television (and in their first feature film, The Chipmunk Adventure). Were they always this boring?

Forcing the Chipmunks to attend an average high school after a taste of rock and roll superstardom could've made for a pretty decent fish-out-of-water comedy (munk-out-of-tree comedy?), but that potential is wasted in favor of an uninspired battle of the bands story, pitting our boys against an all-girl group of chipmunks called the Chipettes. The girls, who are also huge Alvin and the Chipmunks fans, have been taken in by a huckster ex-record exec played by David Cross (giving a startlingly self-aware performance), who favors the "sexiest" Chipette Brittany over bespectacled Jeanette and BBC (Big Beautiful Chipmunk) Eleanor. It's sorta-kinda affecting their overall sisterhood, and that's about as big of a conflict as you're going to get in The Squeakquel.