NOTE: This great spoiler was sent in by Christine.
The movie starts out with the Chipmunks-Alvin, Simon and Theodore, loading up on nuts and storing them for the winter. They are cheerfully singing “Had A Bad Day” as they do this.
Unfortunately, the tree gets cut down, we soon find out, for eventual use of the Christmas Tree in a mall, where Jet Records is located.
We meet Dave. Dave Saville is an unorganized guy, who apparently has the immature habit of never following through on things, evading responsibility and commitment whenever possible. We get a glimpse of this when he runs into Claire (an ex-girlfriend who lives in his cul-de-sac), and the conversation shows how little she thinks of him. Dave invites her to dinner (as a friend only) and Claire attempts to decline, and eventually gives up and accepts pretty much by Dave not allowing her to get a word in edgewise to say no. We learn that by day he’s an Ad Executive, he moonlights as a song writer (albeit, a non successful songwriter). He somehow is friends with a high level executive at Jet Records-Ian. Ian is one of those guys who has a powerful position and gloats on it.
Upon arrival at Jet Records, everyone assumes that since Dave has a meeting with Ian, he is important, so he is flocked by various hot office women, offering him muffins from a basket, water, coffee, etc.
The meeting goes very badly, with Ian finding no use for Dave, dismissing him and pretty much telling him he’s a loser. Dave, still in shock, asks one of the office women for some water, she disdainfully tells him they are all out. Dave, in an act of immature defiance, steals the muffin basket.
The Chipmunks meanwhile are adjusting to the fact their tree has been decorated and is indoors. They try to escape the tree, running into various obstacles such as strollers, feet and eventually hop into the muffin basket-effectively ending up going home with Dave.
Dave arrives home, sighing in defeat, tossing the muffin basket into the trash (which the Chipmunks at first mistaken for his home), proceeds to throw out all his recording equipment into his backyard and lays down on the couch in his home which by the way is a Hollywood movie type home that despite the fact money appears to be an issue for Dave-he lives in a sweet house, tricked out with actual furniture and appliances.
The Chipmunks get out of the trash can and proceed to explore Dave’s home, Simon figures out that the cabinets must be where Dave stores his food for the winter and bingo! They hit jackpot and pig out. This is done in between Dave hearing them, and the Chipmunks cleverly hiding before he can catch them. (One funny moment is when the Chipmunks are under some bowls, Dave picks them up and they hide by clinging to the inside of the bowl). Dave is chasing the Chipmunks through his cabinets, swiping at them with a spatula-only to be knocked out by a glass jar of snacks.
Upon awaking, Dave is introduced to the Chipmunks- Simon (the smart one), Alvin (the “awesomest one) and Theodore. Dave cannot believe they talk, and discovers that their parents took off after they were a week old, and they just lost the only home they know. We also find out that they really want a family. Upset at the concept of dealing with talking Chipmunks, Dave tosses them outside into the rain and starts to clean up the mess the Chipmunks made.
The Chipmunks start singing at his window, and Dave is flabbergasted that they can sing. He herds them inside and tells them they can live there if they let him write songs for them to perform. Simon points out that his equipment is outside in the rain, Dave panics, runs out and gathers it up. He returns to find Simon making aerodynamic looping paper airplanes and Alvin hula hoping with a towel ring. Dave lays down some ground rules for the Chipmunks to follow while living with him and they talk about spending Christmas together. They are excited about Christmas and actually celebrating it. Dave tells them it’s time for bed and tucks them in.
Dave is having trouble getting to sleep, and tosses and turns, listening to the boys mumble in their sleep. He gets an idea for the Chipmunks Christmas Song, and spends all night up writing it and creating a Christmas diorama.
In the morning he wakes up to find the house in a mass of chaos, the Chipmunks attempting to toast waffles and that the boys have been attempting to store food for the winter. Simon is unsuccessful in catching a toaster waffle when it pops out of the toaster, which makes Dave realize that Simon is nearsighted. He takes a pair of Santa Claus glasses off of a Santa figure he has, and gives them to Simon, who is very excited to actually be able to see clearly for once. Dave asks what the boys did all morning, and they tell him they colored (Important).
He explains he wrote a song, and sits down with the boys to practice it (my 5 year old daughter commented how amazing this was and when I asked her “singing chipmunks are amazing? She said “no, that they learned the words so quick”. From the mouth of babes) They sound great and Dave is very excited. He packs the boys up and rushes off to the Jet Records building. Ian is called down to meet with Dave-which he does with very measured patience. Dave shows him the diorama with the boys in it (very cute), however when he tries to get the boys to sing, they get stage fright and cower away. Ian denounces his friend as very sad, and takes off. On the ride home, Dave is very mad, although he softens a little when he realizes that the boys were scared, and that they really are just kids. Dave brings the boys home and runs to work, late for a presentation.
The presentation goes very badly, first when Simon calls asking questions that make it obvious the boys are trashing the house, and Dave yells at him (which makes him look awful since when he took the call during the presentation, he told them it was his mother calling him) and also as the boys colored all over Dave’s storyboards. He is fired for incompetence and comes home to find the house a major wreck. He decides to deal with the boys later when he listens to Claire leaving a message about dinner and Dave is worried because the house is a mess. The boys send him off, promising to clean. Dave goes and gets food, coming home to the immaculate, clean house. He’s impressed, although discovers they cleaned the house by shoving everything into the fridge.
Dave and Claire’s dinner starts off okay, them talking, catching up and such, however starts to go very wrong when Alvin decides to “help” Dave win her back. Since Claire was invited over as a friend, this is not good. Dave keeps acting crazy because he is distracted by the boys constant antics. He excuses himself to run to the bathroom to ask the boys to stop (at this point they have lowered the lights and put on some Barry White make out music). Theodore accidently sprays breath spray into Dave’s eyes, irritating them and he tells them to stop. He comes back out, by this time Claire is impatient with him, since he is acting so weird, and hasn’t changed his immature ways at all. He hugs her at one point to prevent the boys from being discovered and confesses he lost his job (a fact Claire is genuinely sympathetic to) and needed a hug. She point blank tells him to be honest with her-so he is, however upon hearing his home is being invaded by talking Chipmunks, she leaves thinking he is lying. Dave yells at the boys and sends them to bed.
The boys feel guilty and chat, Alvin has a plan. He suggests they get a cab.
Dave is prepping a box with some toaster waffles and some air holes, writing the boys a note that he thinks that they would be better off without him and to go back to their home, however puts the box away, crumpling the letter and tossing it into the trash, missing it (and it ends up under the bed-very Important).
The boys have snuck over to Ian’s home, ring his doorbell, slip in and start singing. Ian is happy since he sees the boys as making a lot of money “Welcome to Jet Records” he says.
The next morning, Dave is worried when he can’t find the boys and gently scolds them when they return. The boys are sorry he worried about them, but pleased he was worried about them at the same time. They head out to the grocery store. While shopping, there is a funny moment when a little girl tosses a box at Dave’s head and Dave commiserates with her mother about having children (making a very funny comment about how aren’t there times you just want to throw them in a box, and leave them in the forest, making the mother look at him like he’s insane, saying “Um, no” and taking off very fast). You can see Dave is actually being very parental, although he seems not to want to admit it.
When he returns to the shopping cart, the boys have it loaded up with Toaster Waffles. Dave explains he doesn’t have much money since he lost his job, however the Christmas Song starts playing over the store radio. Just then, Dave’s cell phone rings and a very ass kissing Ian explains the boys will be HUGE and Dave will be a successful song writer with the boys singing his work.
The Chipmunks become a household name, pictures everywhere. Dave however makes sure they don’t let it go to their heads, keeping them down to earth and grounded. You get the impression this is because he knows they are kids and wants to be sure they don’t run themselves ragged.
There is a cute scene where they decorate their Christmas Tree, and the boys treat Dave like a father. That night Theodore has a nightmare and asks Dave if he can sleep with him, which Dave allows (as seen in the trailer). Very cute and it shows Dave views the boys as something more than a paycheck.
The next morning Alvin and Simon wake up Dave and Theodore, to unwrap presents. The boys have each gotten a present for Dave, much to his surprise. Alvin gives him his wallet (as in Dave’s existing wallet), Simon has made him a paperclip compass and Theodore has drawn a picture of the “family”. Dave explains to the boys he is their friend, manager and song writer, but not their father. The boys get their gifts from Dave-he has given them Savings Bonds (a practical gift showing Dave has a lot to learn about kids, however also shows he has their best interests at heart).
The doorbell rings and in comes Ian, with a slew of employees loaded with massive amounts of gifts for the boys. He urges them to call him Uncle Ian-which excites the boys as they love the concept of being part of a family. He explains there will be a party for them the next evening.
The party happens and it is very start studded, and a red carpet affair. Claire is present as a press photographer, and she apologizes for not believing Dave, and gently chastises him for refusing to admit the boys are like family to him. Ian and Dave have a disagreement about the boys and their future-Dave feels they are kids, and working some of the time is fine, but doesn’t want them overworked, Ian wants to market them and milk as much money from them as he cans, while he can, with no regard for their well being. After this disagreement, Ian starts manipulating the boys, to estrange them from Dave (who views the boys well being more important than money making) by telling the boys Dave thinks little of them, is too strict, doesn’t even want them around and calls them rats.
The next day Dave is worried about the fact he told the boys to clean up, and there is a maid working on it, hired by “Uncle Ian”. The boys demand to know why Dave won’t let them have fun, and how come they aren’t making as much money as Ian says they can. They confuse Dave when they make a reference to him calling them rats. Eventually they find the crumpled note and think it was written the night before. They decide to go with Ian, since they think that is what Dave wants.
Ian insists the boys call him Uncle Ian, and brings them to their own personal mansion, loaded with toys. He spoils them rotten, and indulges every whim. You can see the boys are becoming irresponsible, spoiled brats. He takes away Simon’s “un-hip” glasses and gives him a pair that match Ian’s, however that are the wrong prescription. Simon is not happy about this.
A few days pass and then Ian starts showing what kind of person he really is. He pretends Dave doesn’t care about the boys, and even implies that Dave sends back invitations to their shows. Ian also works the poor guys hard. During one recording session, he is shown giving them double shot coffees, to perk them up. It is obvious the boys need some rest and relaxation, however Ian only cares about making money. One of the dancers notes this, and Ian yells at him to focus on dancing and leave the talent up to Ian.
Dave calls shortly after this, and Ian mocks him, telling him he can’t see the boys, and has no say in their life, since they want to be with Ian instead. Dave says he just wants to check in on the boys and make sure they are ok. Ian, knowing that if Dave finds out how overworked the boys are will interfere in the planned World Tour that starts the next day, refuses, claiming the boys are mad at him and then feigns losing the connection. Ian then advises his security team leader that Dave is not allowed on the premises.
That night Dave sees the announcement of the World Tour and how it is kicking off at a theater in their town. He decides to go and see them, especially when he hears there are rumors the boys are exhausted.
The next day we see a doctor doing a check-up on the boys. She tells Ian that they are exhausted and need some real rest. Ian tells the boys they will go on, however they will lip sync, so not to hurt their voices. Simon points out this is akin to cheating, Ian explains all the stars do it. Ian pretty much tells them they are to do as they are told.
Dave sees the picture Theodore made him on the fridge and misses them. He rushes to the concert and has trouble getting in. He goes to the back door and tries to get in, and is unsuccessful, and about to get escorted away when Claire runs up and grabs him, telling the door girl he is her assistant (her being a photographer, she is allowed all access). They get into the concert and Claire gives Dave her press pass and her camera, wishing him luck (you can see she is impressed about him caring about the boys). Dave almost makes it too the stage where the boys are performing, however the Security team starts to drag him away. Desperate, he calls out to Alvin.
Upon hearing Dave’s voice, the boys are joyful, knowing Dave hasn’t stopped caring about them. This causes the whole lip synching to be off and the scheme exposed. Dave almost reaches the boys, when the curtain is slammed down. The boys try to evade being captured, however are cruelly snapped up by their tails by Ian. He throws them into a cat carrier, ordering his security guy to put it with his stuff.
Ian is getting ready to go, and we see Alvin, Simon and Theodore discuss their situation and how to get out of it. Alvin suggests Simon use his brain, and the camera pans down to the Spanish speaking theme dolls Dave and Ian argued about at the launch party.
We see Dave rush to his car, making ready to book it to the airport. We see Ian waltz on by the pile of his gear and pick up the cat carrier.
Dave is concerned about catching Ian, and the boys pop up from the back seat, cheering him on to drive faster. Dave stops the car and is very relieved to see the boys are with him, and ok. He admits they are a family, much to the boys joy. They start asking to do things while he drives them, like honking the horn, steering the wheel and doing the windshield wipers-Dave indulges them “just this once”.
We flash to Ian, smugly telling the cat carrier that “if you’re nice you can call me Uncle Ian again”, and the dolls that the boys placed inside respond in Spanish. Ian responds in Spanish-very funny.
The movie ends with Claire coming over to celebrate with Dave and the boys. Unsure if they are together, however they are at least friends again. Alvin keeps doing things that Dave holds back responding to until he finally snaps and yells “ALVIN!!!!!””.