David "Dave" Seville is the sole deuteragonist of the first Alvin and the Chipmunks live-action film and the overall tetartagonist of its sequels. He is the adoptive father of The Chipmunks, and the legal guardian of The Chipettes. He is normally a short tempered, but responsible, caring and loving father and is generally very relatable in older iterations. He is normally likable in the franchise, mainly the 60s and 80s series, and even in the 2015 reboot.
Sadly, he was flanderized extremely badly during the live-action films.
Why He Can't Yell "ALVIN!!!" Anymore
Note: This will only talk about his live-action incarnation from 2007-2015, and not his animated or his 2003 live-action counterparts.
- He was heavily flanderized during the live-action films from 2007-2015, as his personality was exaggerated to the point where it is unrecognizable. Instead of being stressed but caring and responsible, especially to the Chipmunks, he became a rather unlikable jerk who is normally very harsh towards the Chipmunks, and even hurt their feelings once by telling them they can stay with Uncle Ian if they want to.
- He also isn't the best at watching the Chipmunks, which often leads to them getting into trouble (mainly because of Alvin, but still).
- He seems to act sterner than his original counterpart during the 1960s, to the point where it more than outshines his good qualities. He is especially stern with Alvin, and while it does make sense given that Alvin normally causes trouble, he goes too stern with the poor boy.
- He is also stricter and more selfish than his original counterpart in the 2015 reboot, and he rarely acts like an actual kind-hearted and selfless father.
- At first, he only cared about boosting his career and reputation, and impressing Claire, rather than caring for the Chipmunks right away like his animated counterpart did.
- His relationship with the Chipmunks as father and sons is very weak, even to the point where Alvin wonders if Dave hates him.
- He barely gets any screen time in the 2nd film (due to him being hospitalized) while it mostly focuses on his cousin Toby. And especially in the final scene of the film where Dave finally gets out of the hospital to put the Chipmunks and Chipettes to bed...only for him to get injured once again by a skateboard lying on the floor.
- In the 4th film, he is completely unaware of James Suggs and his actions towards the Chipmunks and Miles, leading to a massive misunderstanding between him and the boys that comes off as very annoying. He doesn’t even give the boys a chance to explain their story.
- He is at his absolute worst in the 3rd film, since he goes too far with punishing the Chipmunks and the Chipettes after they get into some trouble on the cruise ship, falls asleep during the time he was supposed to be watching them, which causes them to fly off the ship via a kite, and squabbles with Ian the entire time they were looking for them.
- Jason Lee does a poor and laughable job playing as him in all 4 of the live-action films, as he sounds very monotone and sounds like he doesn't want to be in the film, and not having any of the charm that Ross Bagdasarian Sr. and Ross Bagdasarian Jr. bring to the character.
- Even, his 2003 live-action counterpart is in fact played by Ross Bagdasarian Jr. himself, and he still brings the same charm to the character in the live-action world than Jason Lee ever did.
- Also, in all 4 films, his famous yell "ALVINNN!!!", sounds phoned in, weak, and forced as if he had a problem with his vocal cords, and also not angry enough compared to both Ross Bagdasarian Sr (the original Dave) and Ross Jr (the current Dave) (though oddly enough, it was pulled off better in the 4th film compared to the previous movies).
- Overall, while they tried to make Dave faithful to his original counterpart, they failed very badly and managed to make him a bland, unlikable jerk. This actually paints a sympathetic light onto the Chipmunks, especially Alvin, due to how cruel of a father he can be.
- His counterpart in the 2015 reboot isn't any better.
- He and Samantha didn't get karma for their actions towards the Chipmunks, making them a karma houdini.
- He is a much more likable character outside of these films.
- He does slightly improve as the series went on, becoming a more tolerable father. In fact, the 4th film is where almost everyone unanimously agreed that's when he was the least unlikable.
- He does care about the Chipmunks, Claire, and the Chipettes deep down, and has some heartwarming moments with them. He was even nice enough to let the Chipettes live with him in the 2nd and 3rd films before they went off on their own careers in the 4th film.
- In fact, he searched for the kids when he was on the island in the 3rd film and never gave up on them. When he did find them, he did admit to Alvin that he can be a pain, but he would come for them no matter what, which was really heartwarming.
- He did take a part of convincing Ian to redeem himself in the 3rd film, and they are on good terms now.
- The sweetest thing he ever said in the 3rd film, proving that he does care about Alvin:
- "I mean sure Alvin can be kind of a handful but he means well. He's sometimes just... a little irresponsible that's all."
- His actor, Jason Lee, also slightly improved his acting as the films went on. In the 4th film, he pulls off "ALVINNN!!!" better than he did in the last three films.
- He did eventually realize how terrible of a father he was during the films, and he lifted the boy's no singing punishment in the 4th film, and promised to be a better father to them, accepting their apology, especially after hearing the song they sang to him, "Home".
- The final scene in the 4th film with him adopting the Chipmunks as his official sons is admittedly rather sweet, and would've ended the live-action film series on a high note if it weren't for the squirrels' chaos.
- He provides many hilarious moments, especially since many of his sarcastic, rude, honest and sassy remarks and retorts do get good laughs.
- It's easy to feel bad for Dave, as he does go through many mishaps and setbacks upon taking care of the Chipmunks and Chipettes.