Chips that should be deep fried: Alvin And The Chipmunks are about to infest your local cinema

Chips that should be deep fried: Alvin And The Chipmunks are about to infest your local cinema

Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (U)

Verdict: All washed up

Real chipmunks prey on frogs, worms and baby birds, and sleep for about 15 hours a day.

So they know when to shut up and, best of all, they don’t sing, dance or babble incomprehensibly at the top of their voices. They are, therefore, not to be confused with Alvin And The Chipmunks, who are about to infest your local cinema.

Yes, the voluble vermin are back. As if Alvin, Simon and Theodore aren’t high-pitched enough, they’re accompanied by the even screechier Chipettes and their prat-falling manager Dave (Jason Lee), who looks throughout as though he wishes someone would put him out of his misery.

Chip off the old block: Alvin and co are supposed to be pop stars in the new follow up

Chip off the old block: Alvin and co are supposed to be pop stars in the new follow up

We’re supposed to believe Alvin and Co are pop stars, and after this year’s X Factor I suppose anything’s possible.

All the same, sensitive musical soulsmay need years of therapy after witnessing the Chipmunks and Chipettes perform Lady Gaga’s Born This Way while trampolining.

This time, they go on an ocean cruiseand are marooned on a volcanic island, where they encounter a crazy treasure-hunter (Jenny Slate, who over-acts like the worst kind of children’s TV presenter).

She talks to balls, like Tom Hanks did in Cast Away. This movie in-joke is, I suppose, aimed at any adults who have not yet fallen asleep or run screaming from the cinema.

Doubtless because Alvin and the gang’s musical stylings are so evocative of Jedward in their prime, I found my mind wandering during the long hours of boredom to their mentor, X Factor judge Louis Walsh, and his recent 30,000 hair transplant.

Do you suppose he tells his new hair: ‘You were born to be on that head’ Does he stare into the mirror and yell: ‘Louis, you’ve made that hair your own’

But I digress. This shameless cash-grab by 20th Century Fox — it would be charitable to assume the movie was given the green light by executives who didn’t read the panicky emails warning them about the script — isn’t aimed at critics, or people who read film reviews.

Devoid of wit or any semblance of ambition or originality, it is aimed at the pre-literate mini-consumers who enabled the film’s two predecessors to gross a thoroughly undeserved$800 million.

Three-year-olds or four-year-olds will love it, and there’s a lot of them about.