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‘Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers’ Delivers Plenty of Laughs and ’90s Nostalgia

4/5 nuts.

(L-R): Dale (voiced by Andy Samberg) and Chip (voiced by John Mulaney) in Disney's live-action CHIP 'N DALE: RESCUE RANGERS.

There’s many ways a Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers reboot could have gone poorly. After all, plenty of beloved millennial childhood properties have been given the lackluster reboot treatment via disturbing CGI character design and half-hearted attempts at trendiness. Thankfully, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend writers Dan Gregor and Doug Mand, along with Lonely Island director Akiva Schaffer bypass those pitfalls with a self-aware sense of humor and sly storytelling.

The film finds Chip (John Mulaney) and Dale (Andy Samberg) as childhood friends estranged after the cancellation of their hit animated series Rescue Rangers. While Chip is living a solitary life as an insurance agent, Dale (having undergone CGI surgery to be more hip) is working fan conventions alongside the likes of Ugly Sonic and Tigra. The film, which takes place in a hybrid live-action/animation world a la Who Framed Roger Rabbit, is packed with a century’s worth of animated cameos, Easter eggs, and obscure references that will have you hitting pause again and again. The meta references work extremely well, but don’t drown the film as they did in Space Jam: A New Legacy. Chip n’ Dale takes more inspiration from films like The LEGO Movie and Wreck-It Ralph, which ably balanced both fan-favorite references and an original story.

When their old pal Monterey Jack (Eric Bana) is kidnapped, Chip and Dale are forced to team up to solve the crime and rehash their fallout. They join forces with Detective Ellie Steckler (KiKi Layne) who is pursuing an illegal bootlegging operation where toons are kidnapped, altered, and forced to perform in bootleg knockoff movies. The film is densely packed with jokes that make fun of the dark side of Hollywood stardom, while delivering a surprisingly satisfying emotional storyline of former best friends reunited. CDRR delivers on millennial nostalgia, while also unpacking its appeal, and it’s self-referential without the cynicism.

The film is also a celebration of animation throughout the ages, from its black and white origins to Disney classics, like Will Arnett’s over-the-hill Peter Pan, Sweet Pete, to the coldly realistic CGI of the early 2000s (embodied by Seth Rogen’s viking Bob), and beyond. Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers is that rarity in family-friendly films: entertaining for children and parents alike. There really is something for everyone to enjoy in this brisk, silly, and highly entertaining movie. As a parent, it’s something I can imagine watching with my kids over and over again without breaking my brain, something that is increasingly harder to come by today. And as a childhood CDRR fan, it filled me with the warm nostalgia of my youth. And honestly, what more could you want out of an updated Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers? Reboots don’t get more charming than this.

Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers is currently streaming on Disney+.

(featured image: 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc.)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.