In an age where Space Jam: A New Legacy seems to be the pillar of what we can expect when studios dig into their IPs for the sake of meta jokes and member-berries, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers thankfully feels more like 2014’s The Lego Movie than A New Legacy due to some truly creative writing and genuinely hilarious jokes. The film is set in a world where the original Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers show aired and Chip and Dale were actors playing slight-variations of themselves. In this world, nearly every Disney character you know is actually an actor in Hollywood who is known for their respective roles but are struggling in one way or another to break out from that mold.
The film picks up many years after the original show was cancelled with Chip (John Mulaney) and Dale (Andy Samberg) not exactly on speaking-terms, but a mystery surrounding one of their old friends quickly brings them back together. If that sounds a lot like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? you’d be correct, as that was my main comparison for a majority of the running time. If Roger Rabbit was a fun, zany, and meta deep dive into the world of film, animation, and making fun of the genre of mystery movies then Chip ‘n Dale is more of a commentary on the state of pop culture today and how much of a footprint Disney specifically has made on it.
Satire is fun and all, but it really only works if the script actually has something to say or is, maybe more importantly, actually funny. Thankfully, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is a genuinely funny flick that had me laughing more often than I anticipated. The film is greatly elevated by its voice cast, as Andy Samberg and John Mulaney are two naturally talented and funny individuals that blend greatly into the personalities of Chip and Dale. But the film goes the extra mile to give both characters actual arcs and a believable friendship with one another that makes for something more than just a cameo-and-joke fest.
There are some moments towards the end of the film when it can feel like it is hitting you with one joke too many and it begins to feel slightly exhausting, but the laugh ratio hits more often than it misses and the heart of the film is what really ties it together as a satisfying package. I can’t speak for fans of the show as it was a little before my time, but this felt like a unique way to keep the franchise going without directly making a shameless cash-grab sequel; it perfectly designed for both old fans and new ones alike!