The Smurfs 2

Directed By: Raja Gosnell

Starring: Neil Patrick Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Jayma Mays, Katy Perry, Hank Azaria, Christina Ricci, Jonathan Winters, J.B. Smoove, George Lopez, and Anton Yelchin

Maybe it's just me, but this summer has had one too many movies for kids.  With Epic, Monsters University, Despicable Me 2, and Turbo, there's been a glut of animated movies, and it's about time I voice my disapproval.  The summer movie season is about catering to the young, but Hollywood has gone too young this year.  The fact that Neil Patrick Harris, Brendan Gleeson, and Katy Perry teaming up this weekend in The Smurfs 2 isn't the last movie of the summer for the kiddies speaks volumes.  After all, Cars spin-off Planes arrives next weekend.  Alas, there's not much I can do about it but complain.  Let's just deal with the blue midgets hitting theaters this weekend.

Smurfology tells of a time when the evil wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) used his Smurfillator device to create the Naughty we know today as Smurfette (Perry).  The problem was that Smurfette wasn't blue and Gargamel couldn't extract her essence to fuel his magical powers.  As Smurfology tells us, Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters) concocted some magical formula to turn Smurfette into a real blue smurf and make her part of his family.  In the present, Gargamel faces a similar dilemma.  He has created two new Naughties, Vexy (Christina Ricci) and Hackus (J.B. Smoove), and he needs to turn them blue to fuel his dreams of unlimited power.  To do that, he needs to get that formula.  He needs to get Smurfette.

Back in the Smurf village, the Smurfs are preparing for Smurfette's birthday.  They're planning to surprise her.  They hide it from her so well, that she thinks they've forgotten her birthday.  When Smurfette goes into the forest alone, a portal opens, and Gargamel's Naughty Vexy grabs her and takes her back to her creator.  When he learns of this, Papa Smurf gears up to go get Smurfette back.  Though he intended to take Brainy (Fred Armisen), Hefty (Gary Basaraba), and Gutsy (Alan Cumming) with him on his quest, he ends up taking his B team — Grouchy (George Lopez), Vanity (John Oliver), and Clumsy (Anton Yelchin).  When Papa and his team arrive, they enlist the help of Patrick and Grace Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays) as well as Patrick's stepfather Victor Doyle (Brendan Gleeson).  If they don't stop Gargamel from getting that formula from Smurfette, Smurf-a-geddon is coming.

I can promise you one thing.  I won't be singing "La la la la la la" about The Smurfs 2. This sequel is a stale adaptation of the comics and cartoons that disappoints on every level.  Once again taking the director's chair, Raja Gosnell gives us a film devoid of the simple charm that makes these little blue wonders so lovable but chock full of pointless attempts at slapstick humor that leave a lot to be desired.  Beyond this, he uses the word "smurf" entirely too much.  Smurf this.  Smurf that.  If I hear smurf one more time, I'm going to lose it.  All in all, the film has very little appeal to both kids and adults alike.

It's hard to screw up voice acting, but this cast somehow manages to do just that.  There are three in particular I'd like to call out.  As Smurfette, Katy Perry can't hide the fact that she can't act.  She just doesn't sound genuine and authentic on screen.  It's as if I can imagine the even more terrible performance she would be giving in person in a live action role all thanks to her voice acting.  The same can be said for Christina Ricci's bad girl Vexy.  Ricci doesn't give us a devilish little Naughty.  Instead, she gives us a caricature of just that.  Then, there's Hackus, the Jar Jar Binks of the movie.  He's the most annoying character of all, and I would like to slap some sense into J.B. Smoove for portraying such a dumb, loathsome character.  The voice actors aren't alone though.  Hank Azaria gives a horrendously over-the-top performance as Gargamel.  I genuinely wanted to make him stop.  Neil Patrick Harris and Brendan Gleeson aren’t too far behind him.  Aside from George Lopez's positive Grouchy Smurf, the cast really drops the ball here.

The Smurfs 2 is clearly not my kind of movie as my days of watching these little blue midgets are long past.  That being said, I don't think this is anybody's kind of movie.  It's a sappy kid flick without the charm factor, the essential ingredient to a successful movie of this nature.  With this in mind, The Smurfs 2 gets a 0.09% rating.  A few electric lemonades should help get you through this one.