THE SMURFS 2
**1/2 (out of 5)
July 31, 2013
Hank Azaria as GARGAMEL
Neil Patrick Harris as PATRICK
Brendan Gleeson as VICTOR
Jayma Mays as GRACE
Katy Perry as SMURFETTE
Christina Ricci as VEXY
Jonathan Winters as PAPA SMURF
George Lopez as GROUCHY SMURF
Anton Yelchin as CLUMSY SMURF
John Oliver as VANITY SMURF
J.B. Smoove as HACKUS
Studio: Sony Pictures Animation
Directed by: Raja Gosnell
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
Two years ago, I saw “The Smurfs,” and I loathed it. That movie served as the worst kind of kids movie. It took characters from a beloved show I watched as a child and warped it into a cheap imitation with no respect for the original.
Rather than taking place in Smurf Village, Hollywood in its infinite wisdom decided to bring the Smurfs to New York City and shoehorn in a story with the regular actors. In the end, that movie was less about the Smurfs and more about Neil Patrick Harris. Don’t get me wrong, I love Neil Patrick Harris. But the only reason he should headline a Smurfs movie is if he is actually playing a damn Smurf.
Almost two years ago, “The Muppets” did a similar thing, only to a much smaller and less offensive degree. After all, why do we need Jason Segal and Amy Adams to star in a movie if we already have the Muppets, for crying out loud.
While much of “The Smurfs 2” takes place in the real world (in Paris this time, rather than New York City), it is actually a film that focuses more on the Smurfs than the superfluous human characters. In this new film, Gargamel (Hank Azaria) uses real magic to become a famous magician playing at the Paris Opera House. However, he is running out of Smurf essence, which is what gives him his power.
He kidnaps Smurfette (Katy Perry) and tries to turn her evil so she gives him the formula for turning his creations called the Naughties into real Smurfs. That way, he can drain all the Smurf essence out of them and rule the world. It’s up to Papa Smurf and two others – along with Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays again – to rescue Smurfette.
Okay, this plot is a mess, though not as much as the previous film. However, I can respect this more because not only do they focus on the Smurfs more than the humans, but also because it plays to the original Smurf cartoon from the 80s. Anyone who watched that (as well as anyone who has seen “Donnie Darko”) will know that Gargamel created Smurfette, and she was magically turned into one of them at the end of the given episode. (Otherwise, that would be one perpetually barefooted and impregnated three-apples-high lady.)
Don’t get me wrong. The movie is still going to be chore for anyone over ten years old to sit through. But it’s not excruciating like the previous film. (Hey, I think we just found a quote for the Blu-ray cover box.) However, it runs short enough to make it through as a parent… as long as you can handle the irritating other parents in the theater who can’t sit more still than their children.