Mr. Movie

'Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel' squeaky-clean family fun

A bunch of 1950s Christmas songs have survived and while times have passed them by, no Christmas is Christmas until you’ve heard Jingle Bell Rock or Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.

Kids love ‘em as much as they did when Elvis ruled rock.

-- Local show times, theaters, trailer.

While the songs survive, the writers and artists have faded into oblivion. One group that hasn’t is Alvin and the Chipmunks. They went from top-40 radio, to TV twice in the 1960s and again in the 1980s. Now, they’re movie stars.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel isn’t much different from the 2007 film or any other Alvin project put together since Ross Bagdasarian played David Seville in 1958 and made his chipmunks legends.

The biggest change: Alvin no longer wants a hula hoop.

In an acorn shell, here’s where things sit. Alvin and group are rock stars. While showing off at a concert Alvin causes Dave (a reprise from Jason Lee) to get hurt and he is hospitalized. Dave sends Alvin, Simon and Theodore to live with his Aunt but she, too, falls victim to Alvin’s shenanigans. The boys get stuck being babysat by cousin Toby (TV’s Chuck star Zachary Levi) whose total live focus since high school is video games.

Alvin, Simon and Theodore start high school and the film’s plot heads to familiar high school angst territory. The franchise also reintroduces the female version of the band, the Chipettes. The villain of the first movie — done by David Cross — is the villain of the squeakquel.

Kids will love this movie and — as history teaches — they love the chipmunks. It’s fast-paced, has plenty of music, a really funny fart joke and a happy-ending life lesson.

Parents and grandparents who’ve heard The Christmas Song at least a dozen too many times, who survived the TV garbage from the 60s and the 80s, and are bored with the whole concept will find it short, to the point and before the popcorn and sodas are gone — presto — the credits are rolling.

Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars

Rated PG for mature themes. It opened Wednesday, Dec. 23 at Regal’s Columbia Mall 8 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.