Rated PG for some rude
humor and action
Directed by Raja Gosnell
Produced by Jordan
Screenplay by J. David
Stem, David N. Weiss, Jay Scherick, David Ronn, Karey Kirkpatrick
Story by J. David Stem,
David N. Weiss, Jay Scherick, David Ronn
Based on The Smurfs by
Narrated by Tom Kane
Starring Neil Patrick
Music by Heitor Pereira
Editing by Sabrina
Studio Sony Pictures
Kerner Entertainment Company
Distributed by Columbia
Running time 104 minutes
Country United States
Budget $105 million.
The Smurfs is a great example of what the difference is
between a movie made for kids and a movie made for the whole family.
As a matter of fact, I'm probably going to start using the words "kid
movie" as an insult as "family movie" as a compliment. More on
For now, let's focus on The Smurfs and the first live-action
movie. It was non-offensive, safe, generic, and completely
predictable as most "kid movies" are. It reveled in the cliché
of taking cartoon characters and dropping them into the real world
(just like Fat Albert, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Space Jam, Alvin and
the Chipmunks, Yogi Bear, Enchanted, Garfield, Looney Tunes: Back in
Action... it's such an original idea, after all) and
having them go through the whole "fish out of water" scenario with
Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays.
For some reason, though, despite the fact that it was pretty lazy
filmmaking, the thing made about a million truckloads of money and so,
another trip to the well was inevitable. In The
Smurfs 2, Gargamel, the evil Smurf-hunting wizard, is
still trapped in the real world and has become a world famous magician
with loads of money, fans, and a luxurious lifestyle. For some
strange reason, though... he wants to throw it all away and rule the
Now, I know that is the go-to motivation for any cartoon villain, but
really...? Money, acclaim, and worldwide fame and
you're going to give it up to rule a bunch of blue asexual communist
miniature hillbillies who live in mushrooms?
Gargamel, to throw away his fame and rule a bunch of fungus
dwellers, rehashes an old experiment and creates two Naughties (yes,
that is what he calls them) to kidnap Smurfette (who he also created
some years prior but she turned good thanks to Papa Smurf, love, or
some other bullshit) so that he can extract more magical Smurf essence
which sounds way dirtier than what it actually is.
A lot like you can expect, The Smurfs 2 is really just more of the
same stuff. Like every other kids movie that is pooped out into
theaters, it doesn't try very hard and sets a very low bar. On
one hand, it's kind of refreshing to see goals aimed obviously so low,
on the other hand... low goals make 90 minutes seem like an eternity.
For one thing, there are Smurf puns. Painful smurfing Smurf
puns. You almost get the sense that writing the Smurf puns must
have been the writer's favorite job because the goddamn word is used
every few seconds. It's really fun, though, if you replace the
word "Smurf" with "fuck" in your head.
The wit never really elevates from that point.
As I said, this is a kids movie. It's tantamount to jingling
your keys in the face of a baby and watching them laugh. This is
the kind of junk you put on a TV during Thanksgiving so the kids will
shut up for an hour and a half and let you have a conversation.
movies, you see, aren't defined by wit, good writing, passion, or even
extra effort. They are bright, they are simple, they are
non-offensive, and they are forgettable. They are meant for kids
and some questionably intelligent adults, but not for the whole
Family movies have something for everyone. This is Wall-E
or The Croods or Holes... they are fun for kids, but
leave something for adults as well so they don't feel like slitting
their wrists when one too many puns assaults them. Family movies
are bright and funny, but also deep when they have to be. No one
is going to look at either one of the Smurfs movies in ten
years and say, "Wow, I never got that when I was a kid!" because there
is nothing to get. Smurfs 2 leaves all of its sickly
blue little cards on the table and says, "Take it or leave it."
The cast phones it in - even the voice actors and, can someone tell me
who's bright idea it was to make Katy Perry the voice of Smurfette?
Was every other actress in Hollywood busy that day?
Smurfs 2 is what it is and there ain't nothing more to it.
It's bland, it's forgettable... it's the Fruit Stripe gum of movies.
It's not even worthy of great hatred.
The sad thing is, and I know I'm going to get hell for this, but
The Smurfs could have been a decent to great fantasy movie.
A little less real world, a little more like that movie Epic,
and it could have been great.
As it is, this is a thing that just exists. It leaves no
emotional impact at all. It's not a movie... it's an object.
We've got to figure out how to keep Raja Gosnell's hands off of more
cartoon properties before The Jetsons crash into Ice Cube's