Film Review: Only the Kiddies Will Connect to ‘The Smurfs’

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CHICAGO – There is nothing wrong with “The Smurfs” that a thousand volts of electricity couldn’t cure. It is well made, looks good in the optional 3-D and has a competent cast trying their hardest. What it lacks is a spark, either of nostalgia or a fresh update, as it meanders with the seen-it-all-before template. Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

In a plot lifted directly from Disney’s “Enchanted,” The Smurfs are thrust into New York City and our world, with the same machinations and sidekick help as the Disney princess had when she came to NYC. The silly comedy, plus the good and bad nature of the morality, makes it easy for younger kids to follow, but it lacked the nostalgia candy of the 1980s and ’90s cartoon that their parents most likely desired. And of course, the Smurfs are voiced by celebrities, but for once it’s not too distracting.

The land of the Smurfs exists on another astral plane. The average citizen of their village is three apples tall, wears a cap and are blue in color, plus they are named after their duties or personality (Handy Smurf, Jokey Smurf, etc.). They are mostly male, with the exception being Smurfette (Katy Perry), and have a language that includes the liberal use of the word “smurf” (for example, we smurfed a Smurf). The arch nemesis of the Smurf’s happy home is Gargamel (a hammy Hank Azaria), who because he wants to steal the creature’s blue essence (their magic power), raids the Smurf village and scatters them during a Blue Moon festival.

Six of the Smurfs run away to a mystical and watery portal, that opens up through the spell of the Blue Moon. Smurfette, Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters), Brainy (Fred Armisen), Grouchy (George Lopez), Gutsy (Alan Cumming) and Clumsy (Anton Yelchin) take the plunge and end up in New York City, followed by Gargamel and his cat. The Smurfs hook up with adman Patrick (Neal Patrick Harris) and his wife Grace (Jayma Mays), while Gargamel tracks them to the couple’s apartment.

Patrick needs to wow his boss Odile (Sofia Vergara) with a new ad campaign he’s creating, and at the same time help the Smurfs get back to their homeland. Gargamel is not far behind, and if he collects enough blue essence he will have powers to rule all worlds. It’s a race against time and the cute antics of the familiar blue crew.

”The Smurfs” opens everywhere on July 29th. Featuring Neal Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, Jayma Mays, Sofia Vergara, Tim Gunn, and the voices of Jonathan Winters, Alan Cumming, Katy Perry, Fred Armisen, George Lopez, Kenan Thompson and Paul Reubens. Screenplay by J. David Stern, David N. Weiss, Jay Scherick and David Ronn. Directed by Raja Gosnell. Rated “PG

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Smurfs”

Blue Rock: Neil Patrick Harris as Patrick with Gutsy, Brainy and Grouchy in ‘The Smurfs’
Blue Rock: Neil Patrick Harris as Patrick with Gutsy, Brainy and Grouchy in ‘The Smurfs’
Photo credit: Columbia Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Smurfs”

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