The Twenty-First Century

The Smurfs [2011]

The Smurfs, those iconic little creatures we used to watch when we were kids on saturday mornings are now the subject of this lame movie starring Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria and Sofia Vergara, with the voices of Katy Perry, Alan Cumming and Fred Armisen. The extra half star rating goes for Azaria as evil mastermind Gargamel, for heroically rising above this silly excuse of a film. Nothing works. Nothing. The plot? beyond simplistic, as we follow Clumsy Smurf, who accidentally leads Papa Smurf and a few others through a portal that leads to New York (how clever!) with Gargamel and his cat Azrael hot on their heels. Once there, they seek shelter and help from a married couple, Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and Grace Winslows while they try to find a way back to their forest. Told you it was lame. A good kids movie should have elements of humor and entertainment. Unfortunately, “The Smurfs” doesn’t have much of either. The jokes are beyond weak, and the plot is entirely predictable. I think the movie would have worked better if it was entirely set in the enchanted forest instead of going for the modern day Big Apple route. Also, It would be a gross understatement to note that something was lost in translation. Everything is lost — style, substance, wit, character, logic. I could go on. Harris and Jayma Mays work hard to stay accessible, but the computer-generated effects come on like heavy artillery blowing away any hint of flesh and blood. Kids might be amused for a while, but overall, “The Smurfs” is one big fat dumb mess. But hey, it  was directed by Raja Gosnell after all, the perpetrator of the god-awful “Scooby Doo” and “Beverly Hills Chihuahua”. I can truthfully say Gosnell has done it again.

Rating: 1.5/4

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