The Smurfs: Movie Review
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The lovable blue Smurfs of yesteryear had to trade their innocence to star in their big screen 3D debut. Nevertheless, they get big laughs from your average 8 to 10-year-old moviegoer.
The film begins as most Smurf adventures – all is well in their colorful mushroom village as each little blue character demonstrates personality characteristics of their given Smurf name. However, tranquility soon gives way to drama as several Smurfs travel accidentally by vortex into the broad daylight of New York City. Gargamel (Hank Azaria), true to his character, follows them to the Big Apple with his evil plan to capture them and extract their “Smurf Essence” that increases his wizard abilities. The Smurfs must escape him and the oh-so-busy city while there’s still a chance to re-enter the vortex. They are aided in their quest by Patrick and Grace Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays), a 30s-something couple, who became their NYC hosts by way of a random cardboard box.
Children in the theatre belted out full-belly laughs at the comical antics and calamities of the characters. The slap-stick humor worked well for them.
The message that family relationships are more important than wealth was demonstrated through the Smurfs’ influence on Patrick and Grace Winslow’s lives and Papa Smurf’s (voiced by Jonathan Winters) living example of fatherly dedication and sacrifice. Clumsy Smurf (voiced by Anton Yelchin) handles some self-confidence and respect issues in a healthy role-model way.
The collaboration of animated 3D Smurfs and live actors plays out well. Their interaction is believable. Likewise, the creators gave Azrael, Gargamel’s evil and real-life cat, animated capabilities to speak English, laugh and show expressions that didn't look real, but were funny anyhow.
The word “Smurf” is used interchangeably as a noun, adjective, verb, and adverb to suit the conversation. Unfortunately, it’s far too often used as a replacement cuss word.
In one restaurant scene, Gargamel grabs a champagne cooler from a passing waiter and walks a short distance to urinate in the cooler, clearly expressing his relief as he takes care of his need. This is one of many bodily function "jokes" peppered throughout the film.
Smurfette (voiced by Katy Perry) tries on a dress at a store in NYC and a scene ensues parodying Marilyn Monroe's famous moment of her skirt blowing up sensuously from the steam of a city walkway. Grouchy Smurf (voiced by George Lopez) and Gutsy Smurf (voiced by Alan Cumming) openly lust over her like construction workers while Aerosmith's The Seven Year Itch provides the musical score. In the same scene, Smurfette coyishly winks and says, "I kissed a Smurf, and I liked it!" This was an unneccessary and direct inference to Katy Perry's song lyrics in I Kissed a Girl, a controversial song about a girl kissing another girl.
Gutsy Smurf speaks with a Scottish accent and could have easily been named Revolting Smurf with his tongue in cheek comments about male body parts, his tendency to cuss and his cavalier sexist comments.
Magic is casually acceptable as a way of life in this film.
What to Expect
Parents, if you are offended by crude humor and action better skip this film. It's not the overriding content of the script, but it's frequent and pushes the envelope. It's bad enough having to watch the innocence dissolving in our society; do we really need to see it happen with the fun-loving "La, la, la, la, la, la" Smurfs? Children may pick up on the clever way to cuss without cussing by substituting "smurfing" as a choice word after watching this film. If you'll find that annoying, why go there?
You've been adequately warned about the crude humor and the sullying of Smurf innocence. Gargamel's not believably evil, so no threat of scaring the children exists. The Smurfs demonstrate brotherly love and concern for each other like a family. Much of the clean humor revolves around clever communication and funny action sequences. The story wraps up well, leaving no unresolved conflicts.
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