Another Smurf movie returns after 2 years and like last time it’s unabashedly aimed at only the children. Once again combining live action with animation, the film is set 3 years after the events in the first film and the action has shifted from New York City, USA, to gorgeous Paris, France.

Despite its beautiful setting, the movie’s bogged down by a weak and predictable plot. It starts off with the entire Smurfs village planning for Smurfette’s (Voiced by Katy Perry) surprise birthday party. Yet, because they’re so convincing, Smurfette believes their lie and think they’ve all forgotten about her big day.

As she contemplates her place in the Smurf world, it becomes quickly apparent you’re going to have 105 minutes of Smurfette finding her identity, one of the oldest storytelling themes.

Unluckily for her, wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) sends one of his created Naughties (non-magical Smurf-like creatures who’re grey, not blue) to capture Smurfette so that she can reveal the recipe to convert them into Smurfs. In the first movie, Gargamel used Smurf essence he’d extracted from Papa Smurf (voiced by the late Jonathan Winters) to become a celebrity magician. But he’s running low on this ingredient to feed his Naughties while putting on his show in the Paris Opera House (Palais Garnier).

Vexy (voiced by Christina Ricci), a Naughty, manages to grab Smurfette and toss her into the human world for Gargamel to blackmail her into giving her the essence. As soon as the Smurfs find out, Papa Smurf organises a team of 4, including himself, to save the only lady in their species. To pile on the laughs and drag the thin plot out, he gets Vanity, Clumsy  and Grouchy for rescue duty instead of his first picks, Brainy, Hefty and Gutsy.

The Smurfs get transported straight to the New York, home of their previous host Patrick Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris), where celebrations for his son Blue’s (Jacob Tremblay) birthday are interrupted by the appearance of Patrick’s stepdad, Victor (Brendan Glesson).

Flying straight to Paris from New York to save Smurfette, begins a series of blatant, dry, pop culture laced, ironic comedy that extends to the end of the movie.

There’s a lot of shameless copying too. For example, Grace Winlow (Jayma Mays) referencing Breakfast at Tiffany’s after dressing up in the little black dress like Audrey Hepburn to get into a Parisian hotel, or Gargamel using Neil Armstrong’s famous first words before stepping on the moon. This seems to be tailored to the adults accompanying their kids to the cinemas, and while appreciated with a few sniggers from the grown ups present, it came off as cheap and could have been better served with a little more finesse and subtlety. The lines are awkwardly placed around the normal kids dialogue, drawing even more attention to it.

To compensate you for having to sit through that, you’re treated to a breathtaking flying scene over the streets of Paris and the Notre Dame. While this is totally unnecessary to the story, director Raja Gosnell knows that having Vexy race Smurfette and Hackus, the other Naughty, on 2 birds’ backs against the City of Light as a backdrop would be pleasing to the eye, especially in 3D. Show off.

The trio land in Gargamel’s hotel suite and accidentally lock out the Smurf rescue team on the balcony. This forces Papa Smurf and gang to watch as Smurfette gets seduced by the thought of having a sister and family that remembers her birthday. Gargamel, claiming to be her real father, gives her a birthday gift – a magical wand just like his. Remembering that the Smurfs forgot her birthday, she begins to trust Vexy, Hackus and, worst of all, Gargamel.

Despite his “fatherly” ways, Mr Evil’s true colors start to show soon, and he threatens to starve Vexy and Hackus unless Smurfette turns over the recipe to convert the Naughties into Smurfs. Unwilling to watch her new found friends die, Smurfette caves in and surrenders the recipe, producing additional Smurfs, including the rescue party, which are all then readied for essence extraction…

For such a talented cast and wonderful voice actors to be reduced to this mindless children comedy film is enough to make any thinking person blue. Harris’ portrayal in the movie seems forced and unnatural and while usually very likeable, he came off as mean and petulant in his inability to accept his stepdad. Perry’s usual candy-coated sweet voice was also a little hoarse, it was almost like she had a sore throat the whole time.

But Smurfs 2 is, after all, a children’s movie and the kids will enjoy it as they always do. This is an uncomplicated moral story of accepting your step-parents, and being secure in the love of your real family, with a happy ending to boot. As for the adults worried that there will be nothing for you to watch, there will be some badly thought out Meta humour for you too. Just don’t expect the movie to be anything in the league of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.


Rating: 5/10

Release Date: 7 Aug, 2013

Runtime: 105 Minutes

Language: English

Censorship Rating: PG

Genre: Family comedy

Director: Raja Gosnell

Main Actors: Neil Patrick Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Jayma Mays, Katy Perry, Hank Azaria.