Though no stranger to the inevitable backlash a comedian with indie cred will suffer by cashing the occasional easy paycheck to participate in a family film with no greater artistic aim than briefly quieting a theater full of overmedicated six-year-olds, onetime Dr. Doolittle 2 and Curious George cameo-maker David Cross was nevertheless unprepared for the intensity with which overflowing handfuls of critical excrement hit his personal fan for deciding to join the cast of current box office juggernaut Alvin and Chipmunks. Inspired by a "snide comment" recently directed his way by Ratatouille's Patton Oswalt, who had previously turned down the same Chipmunks part but had the good fortune of being offered a voiceover role in an Oscar-quality CGI-critter film, Cross takes to his website to explain the series of Mitigating Factors that went into that particular career choice:
Hello, David here. I've internally debated the merits of addressing my appearance in, (and thus tacit condoning of) "Alvin and The Chipmunks". I am not stupid nor unobservant. I knew going into this movie that I would be eating a lot of delicious shit for it.
Usually I wouldn't give a shit about what everyone's feelings are about it, but I wasn't prepared for the level, or amount I should say, of vitriol that's been flung about like so much monkey poo. But then I read Patton's snide comment in his blog about how he and Brian were offered the part and how they then chucked the script in disgust only to have it hungrily intercepted from it's intended trajectory into the incinerator by me, a money hungry whore sell out, (I'm paraphrasing.) [...]
MITIGATING FACTOR #4
I love Patton and think the world of him and his talent. That will never change, no matter how many times he chooses to wear a kilt and hungrily guzzle sugary sweet, Sierra Mist (Oh snap!!) in an unintentional metaphor for everything being discussed here. What Patton doesn't know (I'm assuming) is that the part was originally offered to me, I said, "no way!", then it was offered to Patton, Brian, and I don't know who else. Then, months later, after everyone turned it down, they came back to me with a much more generous offer. I then said, "yes way!".
I like to imagine a fantasy conversation with Patton wherein I say, "wait a second. Are you trying to tell me that if you were offered the part of Ratatouille and the part of "Ian" in "Alvin and the Chipmunks" but you could only do one of them that you would honestly rather take the "Ratatouille" role? Really? Well guess what, me too." And then walk away in triumph knowing that I had gotten him with a real zinger!
One thing to note here is that we know that they approached at least me, Patton, and Brian. Three non-traditional funny guys who can do something with the part that isn't on the page. I'd say the people involved with the film (at least on the creative end) have pretty good taste. They could have offered the part to Anthony Clark or Jim Breuer or Dat Phan, but then they wouldn't be able to balance out the empty void that Jason Lee brings to the film.
We encourage you to read the entire list of things ( a chance to hang out with LA-based pals, a desire to put a down payment on a modest place in upstate NY, etc) that influenced Cross, a candid inventory which we think will effectively quash any burgeoning feud between two of our favorite comedians-especially since Cross demonstrated the above-referenced respect for his Pixar-blessed peer by not noting Oswalt's longtime involvement in King of Queens, instead deflecting the conversation towards serial sellout co-star Jason Lee, whose rundown of reasons for participating in both Chipmunks and Underdog in a single calendar year was probably no more complicated than, "I'd starve to death if I waited around for someone to give me decent movie jobs in between seasons of Earl."