‘The Smurfs 2’ does not add much to the Smurfy universe, but it does seem to cheerfully entertain the under-10 set far more than their parents.
Using most of the same formula from ‘The Smurfs’ (2011), this follow-up outing of the little blue humanoids follows the Smurfs from their world to the human world in order to save all of Smurfdom from the wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) and his planned ‘Smurf-A-Geddon.’ In the Smurfs’ absence, Gargamel has created two Smurf-like, greyish creatures called ‘The Naughties:’ Vexy (voiced by Christina Ricci) and Hackus (voiced by J.B. Smoove). Unfortunately for Gargamel, the Naughties do not possess the Smurfy blue magic that gives Gargamel’s power substantial oomph. As a result, the evil wizard helps hatch a plan for the Naughties to capture Smurfette (voiced by Katy Perry) in order to obtain the Smurf-specific, special essence Gargamel needs for his dastardly plan. When Smurfette is captured by the tricky Vexy, Papa Smurf (voiced by the late Jonathan Winters) and his crew attempt to track down her whereabouts in the human world with help from their human friends from the last movie, Patrick and Grace Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays). Harris’ character’s step-father, Victor Doyle (the always engaging Irish actor, Brendan Gleeson) is a new addition to the Smurfs’ helping human posse but brings complications of his own.
The CGI Smurfs are still cute and the greatest asset of the film is its great visual appeal as well as its gorgeous Parisian setting. Nonetheless, much of the plot feels as though the audience is subject to the message of a broken record, as the movie, again and again, is stuck in a groove, repeating the same problems over and over with little forward movement during much of its 105-minute length. While the limited plot may be grating for many parents, it seemingly makes it easy for all but the youngest toddlers to decipher the happenings. Although this is not a Smurf-tastrophy for adults, it can be well, ahem, rather boring, even when Hank Azaria appears to be cornily acting his heart out, throwing out pun after lame pun. The cast is full of talent (Harris, Gleeson, Winters) but it never seems to be able to make a fully enjoyable Smurfy sum out of its many parts.
In all, young children may enjoy the visuals and may feel compelled by Smurfette’s personal journey, but adults will find little here other than a brief nap. ‘The Smurfs 2’ is rated 2 out of 5 stars (‘not recommended’), but it may be worth a DVD rental for the kids when you need time to pay bills.
‘The Smurfs 2’ is rated PG for ‘some rude humor and action.’
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