At least, they didn’t rap this time.
The Smurfs are back, and double, double toil and trouble is brewing for our little Smurfette (voice by Katy Perry). It’s her birthday, and little Smurfette is worried the rest of the Smurfs don’t remember and don’t care because she was a concoction by evil wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) to destroy them before Papa Smurf (voice by the late, great Jonathan Winters) stepped in and made her a good girl.
Of course, Gargamel, who has become a world famous magician playing at the Paris Opera House (yes, they were allowed to film on the actual stage of the Paris Opera House, is that a sign of the decline of Western Civilization?), has another plot to destroy the Smurfs, and it involves his new creations, Vexy (voice by Christina Ricci) and Hackus (voice by J.B. Smoove). They were supposed to be Smurfs, but have become the grey-colored Naughties who have none of the “charm” and all of the inclinations to cause mischief when they can. These two troublemakers step in to lure Smurfette into their world and teach her it is fun being bad, so Gargamel can steal the Smurf formula and take over the world.
Will Smurfette find out it is more fun to be bad?
Can Papa Smurf and the gang get to her before it is too late?
Of course, Smurfette will find out it is more fun being bad! It’s always more fun to be naughty, no matter what message you are supposed to walk away with after seeing the movie. Don’t all of your best stories start with the statement, “I don’t think we were allowed to do this, but…”?
I have to admit, this installment of the Smurfs wasn’t as heinous as the first one, but it doesn’t leave me wanting a third (which is threatened in this one). I have had enough of Smurf exclamations like, “Son of a Smurf”, “Holy Smurf”, and worries Smurfette could be suffering from “Smurfholm Syndrome.”
While some of that is only borderline offensive, I am curious how people will react when a duck, who helps free other ducks from becoming dinner, is referred to as Martin Luther Wing and exclaims, “free at last.”
And, this movie has more Smurf belching and Smurf farting than I ever want to experience again (we haven’t even discussed the Smurf mooning).
No, The Smurfs 2 is not contending for an Oscar this year, so Ben Affleck, Meryl Streep and George Clooney don’t need to be shaking in their boots (or smurfing themselves as this film would like to point out more than once). The five person writing team is quite content delivering a very simple movie full of the kind of antics that will have children giggling and parents checking their cell phones to see how much longer all of this will last. If you were looking for the wonder, charm and innocence that made the original televised version of The Smurfs so popular and endearing, you obviously didn’t see the first movie where all of that was trashed like a Justin Bieber hotel room as soon as the Smurfs started to rap.
Meanwhile, Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays are happy to be along for the ride, because the paycheck is so nice. Sure, they might have children in their lives who will be all psyched to see them on screen with the Smurfs, but they aren’t doing this one for the artistic challenge.
Harris and co-star Brendan “How the heck did he end up in The Smurfs 2” Gleeson struggle with a shallow, contrived story about their strained Step-Father/Step-Son relationship, but it does yield one amazing scene that needed their talents to stand out from the rest of the drivel.
The Smurfs 2 is more of the same. If you loved the first, you stopped reading this review several paragraphs ago.
The Smurfs 2 is rated PG for some rude humor and action