Don't call it a comeback. The Chipmunks, those high-frequency crooners of yore, hardly ever went away -- they released music and videos right up until 2004. Now the rambunctious rodents are the latest franchise to get a reboot, bouncing and warbling through multiplexes in Alvin and the Chipmunks, a live-action/computer-generated holiday movie aimed straight at kids.
Jason Lee (freshly scrubbed from My Name Is Earl) is father-figure and human-friend Dave, an aspiring songwriter whose uninvited houseguests turn out to be talking, singing, dancing rodents in search of a home -- and a family. The CG critters make cash register sounds go off in the head of greedy record-label executive Ian (David Cross), who pushes the chipmunk children to the brink with his relentless drive for bigger and bigger success.
Alvin and the Chipmunks (20th Century Fox) Starring Jason Lee, Justin Long. Directed by Tim Hill. Rated PG. Time 91 minutes.