The Smurfs 2

The Smurfs 2

*1/2

Reviewed by: Stuart Crawford

Having somehow inexplicably missed 2011's The Smurfs, I was a little concerned that the sequel might go over my head. I needn't have worried. With characters that struggle to reach two dimensions despite being projected in three, and a plot as labyrinthine and convoluted as the maze on the back of a packet of Coco-Pops, one thing that you can say for The Smurfs 2 is that it's not especially taxing on the viewer.

So, these Smurfs. They're small, they're blue, they're ostensibly cute. As with much of today's Hollywood fare, each character has one defining trait: there's the brainy one, the courageous one, the grumpy one, and the girl one. Ah.

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Yes, Smurfette, the only female Smurf in the village. She was created by the evil wizard Gargamel to trick the rest of the Smurfs, but wise elder Liam Neeson figure Papa Smurf was able to turn her good, so now all she has to worry about is the relentless attention of about a hundred male Smurfs who were presumably either gay or celebate until she came along.

Using her unique powers of femininity to get herself captured in the first five minutes of the film, Smurfette is the main driver of what passes for a plot. If she gives up the secret formula for turning bad Smurfs good, Gargamel (who can only make bad Smurfs) will be able to create as many good Smurfs as he likes and harvest them for Smurf essence, the fuel which powers his magical abilities. If you're beginning to wonder how many more times you can bear to hear the word Smurf, you are not alone.

What follows is a slapstick rescue attempt, where a small party of Smurfs teams up with some humans from the first film (it's helpfully spelled out several times that these humans are from the first film, don't worry) in an attempt to retrieve Smurfette before Gargamel takes over the world and Hank Azaria chews up the planet's entire supply of scenery.

Viewers who are still awake after the first 20 minutes will be bludgeoned into unconsiousness by the the film's heavy-handed morals of unconditional love and family transcending blood relationships. Neil Patrick Harris plays a man who only has until the end of the movie to stop resenting his rubbish stepdad. Will he make it? Yes he will. Will anyone care? No.

This is the problem with The Smurfs 2: children will be put off by the moralising, adults will be put off by the fact that it's a crap film. Nobody wins. Give this one a wide Smurf.

Reviewed on: 31 Jul 2013
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Gargamel tries to create a new kind of evil smurf.
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Director: Raja Gosnell

Writer: J David Stem, David N Weiss, Jay Scherick, David Ronn, Karey Kirkpatrick

Starring: Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, Katy Perry, Christina Ricci

Year: 2013

Runtime: 105 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US

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