The Movie Guru: ‘Chip ‘n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers’ fun for grown-up fan
Someone finally tried to do another “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”
Surprisingly, they came closer than I would have imagined. “Chip ‘n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers,” premiering this weekend on Disney+, brings audiences back to the world where cartoons are just actors trying to make it big in Hollywood. Though the movie is definitely meant more for the now-adult fans of the original series, there’s a solid amount of heart to go along with the humor. It’s still Disney, even if kids won’t get most of the jokes.
In the movie, the original series was the big break for actors and lifelong friends Chip and Dale. Though a fight ended both the show and their friendship, the two reunite years later when their friend Monterey Jack goes missing. Can they work together long enough to save him from being bootlegged, or will an unknown enemy end their reunion plans for good?
Once again, this is a movie your kids probably won’t appreciate. Though the humor isn’t particularly naughty, it’s designed specifically for adults familiar with pop crime, addiction, and the bitter sting of lost dreams. It’s far more adult-focused than “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?,” including a layer of referential pop culture humor.
If you are an adult, however, it’s pretty funny. Though the jokes fly thicker than the resulting laughs, you’ll find yourself giggling more often than you expected. When the digs come, they’re always affectionate and never get in the way of the fun.
There’s also a ton of references, particularly for other Disney shows and properties. They stretch back to the late 1980s, when the original “Rescue Rangers” series started, and might require you to pause the screen sometimes so you can catch them all. The best ones, however, get some nice moments all their own.
Some of the humor comes from John Mulaney and Adam Samberg’s delivery as Chip and Dale, both of whom have great comic timing and a pretty good grasp of the characters. They have a definite Odd Couple relationship, but there’s also a sweetness to it. KiKi Layne brings her own sweetness as an earnest human cop who may or may not be a friend.
One area where the movie does fall short is animation. Through the 3D animation is perfectly fine, the 2D stuff looks suspiciously like it belongs in the bootlegs the movie makes fun of. I don’t know if it was a budgeting issue or that they’ve chased all the good 2D animators out of Hollywood, but it’s a steady disappointment.
Still, there’s a lot here to make up for it. It’s not “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?,” but if you’re part of its target audience it’s a lot of fun.
Grade: Three stars
Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at email@example.com.