The Smurfs 2

Movie Information

The Story: Gargamel kidnaps Smurfette and the others have to rescue her. The Lowdown: It's the same as the first one, only even less inspired, if you can believe it.
Genre: Animation Live-Action Abomination
Director: Raja Gosnell (The Smurfs)
Starring: Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Jayma Mays
Rated: PG

Oh, here we go. I know, I know — it wasn’t made for me. It was made for little kiddies — presumably very little kiddies who are easily amused. Fine. But let me tell you I took my inner-5-year-old to see The Smurfs 2 and what happened? The little weasel sneaked out of the theater and went to watch something else. (We are no longer speaking.) This left my wife and me as the entire audience for the orgy of 3-D faux cuteness wantonly displayed on the screen. It was a ghastly experience. She tried to fall asleep and failed. I tried to fathom how it took five guys to write this dreck — perhaps I underestimate how smurfing hard it is to come up with all those smurfing hilarious uses of the word “smurf” to “comic” effect. (Somehow I doubt it.) On the other hand, it’s almost comforting to find that director Raja Gosnell remains steadfastly mediocre.

The plot of this one could be inscribed on the head of a pin with room left over for the Lord’s Prayer. The villainous Gargamel (Hank Azaria hamming it up for his own amusement, if not ours) kidnaps Smurfette (voiced by Katy Perry) in order to learn the formula that will turn his latest creations into real Smurfs. (A vat of blue dye would probably do the trick.) This will somehow allow him to draw off Smurf essence, which will then somehow lead to world domination. You’d think Smurfette would appreciate a break from being the only female Smurf in Papa Smurf’s (voiced by the late Jonathan Winters) cult. But is she? Well, not at first, but since Smurfs are dumber than a vat of blueberry jam, this will change and … oh, come on, if you’re actually old enough to be reading this, it follows that you don’t give a flying smurf what the story is. Put it this way — mistakes will be made, misunderstandings will occur, hijinks will ensue and Brendan Gleeson will be turned into a duck (cue the “ducked-up” gag). And, oh, yes, life lessons will be learnt. In the end, everything will be hunky dory, which means you can finally leave the theater — an event far more joyous than anything on the screen.

If you had the grave misfortune of seeing the first film (and I did), you’ve pretty much seen this one — only most of the action has been moved to Paris and Gleeson has been added as Neil Patrick Harris’ stepfather. But it hits all the same notes and duplicates all the things that were apparently deemed successful in the first one. Yes, I know there’s a market for it. But I think that’s rather unfortunate. Just because movies are made for kids — or theoretically for families — doesn’t mean they have to be artistically bankrupt. Fact is, they’re artistically bankrupt and lazy because the people making them know that parents will take their kids to watch just about anything. As long as that’s the case, there’ll be more of the same. Rated PG for some rude humor and action.

Playing at Carmike 10

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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