‘The Smurfs 2’
Director: Raja Gosnell
Voices: Jonathan Winters, Katy Perry
1 (out of 5) Globes
There is nothing positive to say about “The Smurfs 2.” The pointless sequel to the even-more-pointless 2011 original is exhausting and pitiful, an hour and 45 minutes of shameless product placement, shoddy filmmaking and talented people shedding themselves of their dignity and self-respect. It’s a numbing, infuriating reminder that children will be amused by anything as long as it’s cute and silly – and parents are willing to put up with it just so they don’t have to deal with their children for awhile.
After the first movie had those blue, CGI-animated buggers slipping into a vortex to retrieve one of their own in present-day New York, Papa Smurf (the late, great Jonathan Winters in his final role, sadly) and a Smurf rescue team mingle among the Earthlings once again. This time, it’s to save Smurfette (Katy Perry, constantly sounding like she downed a whole roll of Sweet Tarts), who’s been kidnapped by evil wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria, still bald and hammy) in the hopes of snagging the secret formula for acquiring “Smurf essence.”
Those who remember the origin story of Smurfette know she was a spy created by Gargamel to infiltrate Smurf Village, until Papa Smurf gave her a loving, magical once-over and made her into one of their own. The sequel brings in a couple of more Gargamel-created, miniature baddies (Christina Ricci and J.B. Smoove), who help bring Smurfette over to the dark side by showing her how fun it is to tearing up pastry shops and riding on storks.
Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays return as the live-action couple who help the Smurfs on their mission, somehow having enough cash to whisk them all away to Paris, where Gargamel (who’s now an adored, rock-star magician) is hiding her. Also tagging along is Brendan Gleeson, showing up as Harris’ well-meaning yet less-than-beloved stepdad.
While the movie appears to stick up for stepdads everywhere with its biological-dad-didn’t-bother subtext, the movie itself is such a disgrace that even that refreshing attribute ends up looking tragically tacky. (Returning director Raja Gosnell continues his streak of making expensive kid flicks look like the cheapest, lousiest Troma films ever made.) From the people behind the scenes to the people in front of the lens to the families who’ll flock to theaters to see this, “The Smurfs 2” does no good for anybody.