Merry Christmas, kids– the Chipmunks are back. Run to the hills, parents– the Chipmunks are back.

This time the three furballs (and the three furball-ettes) are hitting the high seas for a Carnival Cruise commercial, though after a bit of a hang-glider mishap they all find themselves stranded on a remote desert island. And, yes, Dave (Jason Lee) and Ian (David Cross) are along for the ride, too.

There are also Chipmunk versions of every hit song from a year ago, including tunes from Lady Gaga (will “Bad Romance” ever die?), Katy Perry, Rihanna, and P!nk.

What it doesn’t have is much of a plot– instead seeming to serve only as an excuse for Lee, Cross, and the crew to spend a few weeks in Hawaii. There’s something about a volcano, something else about some hidden treasure, and about halfway through, Simon gets bitten by a spider and turns into a French, Rambo-type chipmunk. Um, okay.

Frankly, director Mike Mitchell (Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo) just doesn’t seem like he even wants to be here, instead content to just let the Chipmunks and Chipettes break out into song every so often. There’s no conflict, no ‘bad guy’, and no sense of urgency. When the previously-nefarious Ian spends the entire movie walking around in a pelican suit, buddy-buddy with Dave– you know you’re in trouble.

To top it all off, we inexplicably get the wasted talents of Anna Faris, Christina Applegate, Amy Poehler, and Justin Long (among others) providing the voices for the Chipmunks.

Why? They could have used my Aunt Lucy and it would have sounded the same.

Of course, not one lick of this makes any difference to any child under the age of 10, who will absolutely have a ball, busting a gut as those crazy Chipmunks get into yet another round of loony hijinks. Seriously, they’ll love it. One nine-year-old I know even said it was his favorite of the three.

So there you go.

2/5 stars