Alvin and the Chipmunks is a 2007 American live-action/CGI holiday family comedy and musical film starring Jason Lee, David Cross, Cameron Richardson, Jane Lynch and the voices of Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney. The film features Alvin and the Chipmunks and is based on the animated series of the same name. It was directed by Tim Hill, distributed by 20th Century Fox and produced by Regency Enterprises and Bagdasarian Productions.
The film was panned by critics as one of the worst films of the year but was a major financial success: on a budget of $55-$60 million, it made $217 million in North America and $361 million at the box office worldwide, and was the seventh-best selling DVD of 2008, earning over $101 million.
The story begins in the back of a hill, located in a forest during the summer. The tree that the chipmunks Alvin (voiced by Justin Long), Simon (voiced by Matthew Gray Gubler), and Theodore (voiced by Jesse McCartney) live in is cut down and driven to Los Angeles to become a Christmas tree. Once in LA, the Chipmunks meet struggling songwriter David Seville (Jason Lee) who had his latest song rejected by JETT Records executive Ian Hawke (David Cross) who was Dave's college roommate. Dave once had a relationship with his next door neighbor, Claire Wilson (Cameron Richardson). She broke up with him because she felt he was too busy, irresponsible and he had no time for her.
After winding up at Dave's interview, the Chipmunks hop into his basket and follow him home. Once at home, Dave discovers the Chipmunks, and is accidentally knocked unconscious. Upon waking, he kicks them out until hearing them sing "Only You (And You Alone)". Dave then makes a deal with them; they sing the songs he writes, and in exchange he provides food and shelter for them. However, all does not go well, as Dave's job presentation is ruined by their coloring on it, and when Alvin tries to set the mood for his dinner with Claire, things become weird and she rejects him after he tells her that "My life is being sabotaged by talking chipmunks". To make it up to Dave, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore go to Ian in an attempt to record a song and get a record deal.
Once the Chipmunks sing Dave's song to Ian, Ian signs them to the label and rehires Dave the next day. After a few singles, the Chipmunks become wildly popular. When Dave expresses concern for their well-being and insists that the Chipmunks are "kids" who don't need so much craziness in their lives, Ian convinces the Chipmunks that Dave is holding them back.
Eventually, Dave and the Chipmunks have an argument and, in anger, Dave tells them that if they like "Uncle Ian" so much, they should just go live with him. They become enchanted with Ian at first, but once they set off on a coast-to-coast tour, Ian takes advantage of their naivete, changing their image and working them constantly. Meanwhile, Dave misses the chipmunks and he wishes they would come back home. He calls Ian to see if he can talk to them but Ian refuses, and then conceals Dave's motives from the boys.
Later, the Chipmunks are wearing out, and it is all over the news. Dave, infuriated by what Ian has done to the three, decides to take matters into his own hands by infiltrating their concert at the Los Angeles Orpheum Theater.
Just before the big concert, a doctor says that the Chipmunks can't sing because their voices have given out. Ian declines to hand out refunds and orders the Chipmunks to lip sync. With Claire's help, Dave sneaks into the concert, but is grabbed by the security guards. When the Chipmunks see Dave being taken away, they realize they've been tricked, decide that they've had enough of Ian, reveal that they were lip-syncing and run amok, ruining the concert. They are soon caught by Ian just when Dave is about to rescue them. He locks them up in a cage and prepares to take them to Paris. Dave tries to convince Ian to let the boys go but Ian refuses. Ian then leaves in his limo with the boys and Dave chases them but the boys have already escaped to Dave's car. Dave immediately pulls over and admits that he loves them like his own family. Meanwhile, Ian looks in the cage and is shocked to see the boys have replaced themselves with merchandising dolls.
Sometime later, when the boys are fully accepted as part of the family, they invite Claire over for dinner again. Alvin accidentally causes a short circuit in an attempt to open a bottle of champagne. Dave is trying not to say it, but the short circuit causes a blackout in the kitchen. Dave can hold it in no longer and says it, letting out his trademark yell "ALLLLVINNN!!", to which Alvin responds with "Okay!".
An epilogue shows Ian (now unemployed and broke) with three squirrels trying to make them sing but fails to do so.
The end credits show several of The Chipmunks' past albums.
- Jason Lee as David Seville
- David Cross as Ian Hawke, the main antagonist of the film
- Cameron Richardson as Claire Wilson
- Jane Lynch as Gail