Australian Council on Children and the Media

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8; suitable for 8 year olds and older (comedic violence; crude humour).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip
  • a review of Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 28 December 2015.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended
Children 8 and over Suitable for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild crude humour and comedic violence.
Length 92 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Alvin and the Chipmunks is an animated drama-comedy following the amusing journey of Alvin (Justin Long), Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler) and Theodore (Jesse McCartney). The three friends become very concerned when Dave (Jason Lee) suggests limiting their performances, in favour of taking his star client Ashley (Bella Thorne), as well as his new girlfriend Samantha (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), to Miami for an upcoming record launch. When the Chipmunks discover a ring in Dave’s bag, they become immediately concerned that he intends to propose to Samantha. This displeases the Chipmunks, as they do not want her unkind son Miles (Josh Green) to become their step-brother.

The sentiment is shared by Miles himself, so the group set off to Miami by plane in an effort to put a stop to the potential engagement. However, chaos ensues when Theodore allows several animals out of cages whilst on the flight, and the air marshal needs to organise an emergency landing. The group continue their escapades in an effort to reach Miami before it is too late, wreaking havoc along the way, but ultimately developing a fondness for each other that none of them had anticipated.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Blended Families; Friendship; Adventure

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is minimal violence within the film, including:

  • Characters are sometimes mildly injured for comedic value, or appear to be hurt but are actually fine. For instance, toothpicks are thrown at a man’s face – they are stuck in his skin temporarily, but he is not hurt.
  • An air marshal is hit in the groin by a slingshot. The Chipmunks and Miles are taken into custody for doing this after the plane lands.
  • One scene sees a small fight escalate into a larger brawl, involving more people and some comedic fighting/hitting.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

None of concern

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

None of concern

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

None of concern

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

None of concern

Product placement

There is some product placement, including:

  • Apple products, such as Apple laptops and phones. Beats headphones are also seen in the film.
  • Online social media websites such as Youtube and Twitter.
  • Corporate brands such as McDonalds, American Idol, Krispy Kreme Donuts, Speedos, etc.

Sexual references

There are very mild sexual references, including:

  • Some references to ‘liking big butts’, and descriptions of being attractive or ‘hot’.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is very mild sexual activity, including:

  • There is a scene where a couple embraces and shares a kiss.

Use of substances

There is mild use of substances in the film, including:

  • One scene takes place in a Western bar, where people are dancing and adults are seen to be drinking alcohol.
  • The air marshal is offered two alcoholic beverages containing ‘moonshine’.

Coarse language

There is mild coarse language in the film, including:

  • Insults are used, including ‘loser’ and ‘psychopath’.
  • When singing a song called ‘Uptown Funk’, the lyrics in the song are changed to say ‘heck yeah’, as opposed to ‘hot damn’.

In a nutshell

Alvin and the Chipmunks is a heart-warming story of family and friendship. The film depicts the transformation of the Chipmunks as they work together with Miles in order to achieve a common goal. Despite their initial dislike of one another, the group grows close and ultimately forms a close bond. The movie also highlights issues related to making mistakes, and the consequences that can ensue from making questionable decisions. It presents a positive outlook on the situation, however, with forgiveness and compassionate understanding being central to the film’s ultimate message.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • The love of family is unconditional, and that it is alright to make mistakes or bad decisions.
  • The importance of understanding that all behaviours have consequences, and that it is crucial to be forward-thinking before acting.
  • Families come in different forms, and there are no set rules for what denotes a ‘family’.  
  • The strength and power of friendship in regards to overcoming obstacles.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • The consequences of one’s actions, and the importance for owning up to one’s mistakes whilst dealing with the repercussions.
  • The nature of what a family unit can be – the film presents families with adoptive parents, as well as single-parent families, and depicts these as all equally capable of being supportive and loving.

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