Year:  2022

Director:  Akiva Schaffer

Release:  Streaming now

Distributor: Disney+

Running time: 97 minutes

Worth: $16.00
FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

KiKi Layne, Andy Samberg, John Mulaney, Will Arnett, Seth Rogen, Eric Bana, Tim Robinson

… an engrossing spectacle charged with playful action sequences and a humour that never feels inappropriate, particularly for the littlies in the room.

In the delightfully hyperactive Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers, animated anthropomorphic critters respond to the soul-crushing slap of Hollywood.

Life has been tough for Chip (John Mulaney) and Dale (Andy Samberg) in the thirty years since they last appeared on the television series of the same name. Having fallen out over a desire to go solo (in true showbiz style), the once inseparable besties have gone on to live separate lives; the sensible Chip opting for a white-collar career in insurance – the major joy of his quotidian existence coming in the form of his Clifford-like pooch, and the buzzing Dale – cosmetically enhancing himself to 3D to attract more jobs in Hollywood – making his living, how all former stars do, navigating the convention circuit.

Reunited following the disappearance of their former colleague Monterey Jack (a fair dinkum Eric Bana), the at-odds Chip and Dale set out on a noir-esque adventure to save their friend, encountering a slew of familiar faces and pop-culture references.

While parallels to Robert Zemeckis’ 1988 classic Who Framed Roger Rabbit are apparent, the developments in CG technology offer new territory for screenwriters Dan Gregor and Doug Mand to explore. The ‘meta’ Hollywood practice of pandering to audience nostalgia doesn’t make an appearance in DnD: RR, with director Akiva Schaffer (of The Lonely Island fame) using call-backs to contemporary characters – both recent and new and of differing animation styles – to create a hearty richness in the film’s absurdist humour. (That said, some of the references will time stamp the film into the now, potentially placing a shelf-life on the jokes.)

The film plays to both Mulaney and Samberg’s strengths, allowing their comedic styles – the restless sounding Mulaney contrasting with Samberg’s zaniness – to coalesce into a buddy-cop pairing loaded with charm.

This is further highlighted in the film’s star-studded voice cast, with the likes of comedy heavy-hitters J.K. Simmons, Seth Rogen, Will Arnett and Keegan-Michael Key filling out the principal roles. (Exactly who they play is a mystery best served cold.) The film moves at an up-tempo pace, making for an engrossing spectacle charged with playful action sequences and a humour that never feels inappropriate, particularly for the littlies in the room.

When animated characters come into contact with humans, the film becomes less animated on two fronts. While the talented KiKi Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk) does her darndest fitting into Chip and Dale’s world, her role as a police officer working to rebuild her reputation is unfortunately written too straight-faced in a film that otherwise revels in silliness.

Doing to IP cross-pollination what Scream did for horror, Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers rides high on its buoyant sense of play and intelligence. It is a blast from the past and a time capsule worth opening.


Leave a Reply