Though critically beaten until it was black and blue (or just bluer), 2011’s The Smurfs managed to earn enough smurfing dough that it both trounced its competition (Cowboys and Aliens) to the point where it was considered a flop, and convinced Sony that a sequel was warranted. That latter point was and is worthy of debate, especially now that we can see what that sequel looks like. The Smurfs 2 is definitely no worse than its predecessor, as that would be damn near impossible thanks to its wretchedness, but it’s also no better despite having a bit more character development (or just identifiable character at all). It’s just more of the same empty headed stupidity that ropes in a bunch of actors who could and should do better, but who probably took the gig so their own kids would have something starring their parent that’s age appropriate. That’s not a bad reason to do something, but it does seem to lead to an awful lot of really bad kids movies. Case in point: The Smurfs, and now The Smurfs 2.
After recounting how Smurfette (Katy Perry) was created by Gargamel (Hank Azaria) to corrupt and destroy the Smurfs’ way of life before Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters) cast a spell to redeem her smurfin’ soul, we’re taken to present day where Gargamel, stuck in the real world, has continued to create off-color smurfs (called “Naughties”) in the hopes of uncovering the secret missing ingredient that makes real smurfs blue and thus possessing of a magical essence he can use. He conceives of a plan to lure Smurfette back to his side, and in the process kidnaps her to the human world on her birthday. The Smurfs, upon realizing she’s gone, mount an expedition to save her with the help of their human friends Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and Grace (Jayma Mays).
The pratfalls and silliness will likely entertain the kiddies, but parents who have to watch with them will find it hard not to notice that they’ve watched better things with their kids that didn’t involve a poorly used A-List cast, expensive CGI, and stale jokes. This is a studio using a recognizable property to make a bare minimum and mediocre movie that they know kids will eat up even if it’s absolute garbage. The plot really hasn’t changed, this time it’s just with Smurfette at the center in a story outline we’ve seen repeated over and over and over.
Your kids deserve better. Don’t smurfing do this to them.
Blu-ray Bonus Features
The combo pack includes The Smurfs 2 on Blu-ray, DVD, and as an Ultraviolet digital copy. As for extras, the set has featurettes on the Naughties, the animation of Azrael the cat, and Smurfette, and then there are some deleted scenes thrown in for good measure.
"The Smurfs 2" is on sale December 3, 2013 and is rated PG. Animation, Children & Family, Comedy. Directed by Raja Gosnell. Written by J. David Stem, David N. Weiss. Starring Brendan Gleeson, Hank Azaria, Jayma Mays, Jonathan Winters, Katy Perry, Neil Patrick Harris.