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Movie Review: The Smurfs 2

Posted on the 15 August 2013 by Sirmac2 @macthemovieguy

The Smurfs 2  STARRING: Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, Hank Azaria, Brendon Gleeson, and Jacob Tremblay. With The Voices Of Katy Perry, Jonathan Winters, Christina Ricci, JB Smoove, George Lopez, Anton Yelchin, John Oliver, Fred Armisen, Jeff Foxworthy, Alan Cumming, Kenan Thompson, Paul Reubens, Shaquille O’Neal, BJ Novak, Jimmy Kimmel, Shaun White, and Mario Lopez.

WRITTEN BY: J David Stern, David N. Weiss, Jay Scherick, David Ronn, and Karey Kirkpatrick

DIRECTED BY: Raja Gosnell

 

The Smurfs 2 wasn’t made for critics. It wasn’t made really to be reviewed by anyone.  It is sort of unfair to review this film against other ‘better’ films, because it really can’t compare. Especially if you saw some sort of critic screening where there are no kids. I remember the first one, and I thought it was average, much like how I felt about the first two Alvin and the Chipmunk movies. It’s not a terrible film, it’s just probably not one you would watch, unless you have kids.

The Smurfs 2 picks up a few years after the first one. Long enough for Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and Grace (Jayma Mays) to have a kid named Blue (Jacob Tremblay). Yes, his name is Blue. Automatically took a point away for that. I wasn’t paying enough attention, but I believe Blue is 3. He’s not really old enough to function as a real character, he spends most of the film being carried around, but he’s old enough to walk on his own, but he has virtually no dialog. Anyway, Gargamel (Hank Azaria) has turned into a world-renowned magician, because we’re all stupid enough to make him a celebrity. He’s running low on juice, and needs to extract more from the Smurfs. So, he devises a plan to kidnap Smurfette (Katy Perry) so that he can get the recipe for turning his Naughties into real blue Smurfs. If he has the formula, he can just keep creating Naughties and turning them into Smurfs. Oh yeah, he has two Naughties now. There’s no real introduction to them, they just appear. Vexy (Christina Ricci) and Hackus (JB Smoove). Hackus is basically useless, but Vexy is smart enough to volunteer to go and kidnap Smurfette. She successfully does so.

Then Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters) devises a plan to go back to the human world and rescue Smurfette. He can take three with him, and he originally devises an A-Team, but gets stuck with the B-Team of Clumsy (Anton Yelchin), Vanity (John Oliver), and Grouchy (George Lopez). They go to Patrick’s home right after Blue’s birthday, when Patrick’s step-father Victor (Brendan Gleeson) is also visiting. They appear, and Victor seems really eager to accept the presence of tiny blue people. They agree to help, which means a last minute trip to Paris, where Gargamel is. Apparently, Patrick’s job is going so well he can just drop everything and take a trip for four to Paris (which probably cost the human family a couple grand).

Meanwhile, Gargamel is trying to extract the formula from Smurfette, but she won’t give it up. He takes some of her hair for power in the meantime. While he’s off doing his show, Vexy decides that if she’s nice to Smurfette, and they become friends, Smurfette will give them the formula. Vexy and Hackus need a drop of Smurf juice every night to stay alive, so they really need Smurfette to help them. The rest of the film is Smurfette thinking that the Smurfs forgot her birthday (when really they were planning a surprise party), and Papa Smurf isn’t coming (because he just misses her every time, and she never sees him). So she bonds with Vexy. Also, Patrick is annoyed by Victor, who he thinks just stormed into his life as a child after his father left, and he’s resentful for Victor getting rid of his pet bird. There’s a solid theme here, which is that family can be anything you choose it to be. For Smurfette, she chooses to be a Smurf, and she chooses to have Papa Smurf as her father, even though Gargamel created her. For Patrick, he has to learn that Victor chose to be a father to him, and chose to love him, even though he didn’t have to, because Patrick isn’t his real son.

Yeah, the film is ridiculous and makes no sense. Definitely. I think the kids in my audience enjoyed it. It plays well with the under 10 crowd. There are some jokes for the adults, like the introduction of Passive-Aggressive Smurf, who was mentioned but not shown in the first film. Mostly, this is nap time for adults. Again, I feel bad calling this movie terrible, because I’m not the core audience. I didn’t hate the movie either. I shut my brain off, and had a decent hour and a half. I’ve seen other films this year that I hated much more than I hated The Smurfs 2. Hank Azaria is actually really good as Gargamel, though no one will ever recognize him for that. He disappears in the role, with a combination of his solid acting, and some great makeup work.

If you have kids, this isn’t a bad way to spend time with them. If you don’t have kids, then I’ll leave the decision up to you. I would say, that for a film with FIVE writers, I expect a bit more. Then again, it is directed by Raja Gosnell. There is really only just so much you can ever expect from Raja Gosnell as a director. He basically exudes mediocrity into every film.

FINAL GRADE: C+


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