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The Independent Critic

Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, Sofia, Vergara, Hank Azaria, Katy Perry (Voice), Jonathan Winters (Voice), Paul Reubens (Voice), George Lopez (Voice), Anton Yelchin (Voice)
Raja Gosnell
David N. Weiss, J. David Stem, Peyo (Characters)
Rated PG
86 Mins.
Columbia Pictures

  • The Smurfs: Comic Book to the Big Screen
  • The Smurfs Fantastic Adventure Game
  • Find the Smurfs Game
  • The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes
  • Smurf-O-Vision: Second Screen Experience: Interact with the Smurfs as they take over your TV & iPad®, iPhone® or iPod touch® while you watch the movie!
  • Progression Reels
  • Going Gargamel
  • Smurf Speak: Meet the Cast

 "The Smurfs" Review 
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Have you ever gone to a movie that was just a Smurfin' waste of time? Where you were just Smurfin' ripped off? Where you felt like you'd been bent over and Smurfed really, really hard without a condom?

The only thing worse than watching an episode of the televised Smurfs is having to sit through director Raja Gosnell's latest animated disaster, the big screen version of The Smurfs. In 3-D. No, really.

Gosnell, who is unquestionably one of the weakest filmmakers working these days, has given us such cinematic drivel as both Scooby Doo films, Big Momma's House and the decent by comparison Beverly Hills Chihuahua. In other words, while countless gifted directors struggle to get indie projects made, we have Gosnell continuing to churn out animated mediocrity while Hollywood force feeds it to a American children who are rapidly being turned into Hollywood's own Stepford children.

There is nothing good about The Smurfs, with the exception of a surprisingly sincere and sweet performance by Jayma Mays (Paul Blart: Mall Cop) who breathes life into a film that is otherwise on life support for much of its 86-minute running time.

The Smurfs opens up in a scene right out of its television roots, with our three apples high blue-man group Smurfin' about to and fro while the evil Gargamel (Hank Azaria), one of the film's live-action characters, plots their demise. We learn early on, just in case we'd forgotten, that these creepy Smurfs, Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters) and 100 little Smurfs with only one girl, are all named after their disposition or key character trait (except for Smurfette, (Katy Perry). The Smurfs have always kind of been like Oompa Loompas on helium ... hyped up, over exaggerated and infantile little creatures who seemed primarily designed to appeal to people with attentions spans of right about seven seconds. It was hard enough to watch The Smurfs over a 30-minute time span.

86 minutes? It's Smurfin' torture. Hours after having viewed the film is when you'll most likely realize that Post-Traumatic Smurf Disorder has set in as you have raging flashbacks of flying blue snowballs singing the most hideous screeching of "La La La La La La La La La La." The agony is Smurfin' unbearable.

A small group of Smurfs, including Papa, Smurfette, Clumsy (Anton Yelchin), Jokey (Paul Reubens), Greedy (Kenan Thompson), Vanity (John Oliver), Grouchy (George Lopez), Brainy (Fred Armisen), Baker (B.J. Novak), Gutsy (Alan Cumming) and Panicky (Adam Wylie) find themselves getting dumped by a magic portal right into New York City's Central Park and into the lives of a frenzied advertising exec (Neil Patrick Harris) and his pregnant wife (Jayma Mays) with Gargamel and his half live-action, half CGI cat Azrael hot on their tail.

Do Smurfs have tails?

The Smurfs looks an awful lot like Scooby Doo, while also having the outline of the recent Chipmunks films. To their credit, the film's screenwriting team doesn't try to pretend this is all supposed to play straight as quite a few of the films jokes are targeted directly at the film itself. There's product placement galore, self-deprecating observations and an abundance of silliness that may very well appeal to the youngest of children but pretty much not anyone else.

The nearly always likable Neil Patrick Harris seems lost here, his genuinely good guy persona left adrift in a sea of squashed blueberries. While Jayma Mays fares better, mostly because she turns on the maternal charm and becomes utterly adorable, it's not nearly enough to rescue the film even to the point of mediocrity. Hank Azaria chews so much scenery that he may very well qualify for next year's hot dog eating contest at Nathan's.

If the film itself wasn't abysmal enough, Columbia Pictures has the nerve to add pointless 3-D to the film just to milk families for a few more bucks. While the 3-D's nowhere near The Last Airbender bad, it's yet another wasteful aspect of a film that is a complete Smurfin' waste of your time.

There's only so much you can do with the vocal work for a bunch of Smurfs, and the film's otherwise talented vocal cast is mostly wasted here with Jonathan Winters managing to not be funny, Katy Perry finding a way to kiss a Smurf, Anton Yelchin hoping for any other frontier but this one and pretty much nobody in the cast live or animated managing to leave much of an impression.

While this hasn't exactly been a stellar year at the box-office for children, The Smurfs is most definitely not the answer. Years after the height of The Smurfs popularity, one can only hope that America ignores this charmless, unimaginative and downright traumatic trip through 80's children's television.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic
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