Written by / 7/30/2011 / No comments / , ,

THE SMURFS

title: THE SMURFS
year: 2011
cast: Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris
rating: *1/2

The decision to take the Smurfs out of their land and into New York City, judging by the first ten minutes as the playful blue creatures meander pointlessly through their mystical dwelling, was a good one. But the execution is something else entirely.

And that’s not referring to the villainous Gargamel, played by Hank Azaria with a fake nose and killer cat, trailing the Smurfs to rid them once and for all.

In a non-violent way, this is what our human protagonist Neil Patrick Harris, as a climber in the ad business, wants to do: the Smurfs have accidentally entered his life, and with their singing and frolicking inside his apartment – where his wife awaits their child – he’s being driven up a wall.

The settings are contained within this and a few other locations, so it feels like a boring thirty-minute cartoon stretched into two long hours instead of a fish outta water odyssey, like the premise and trailer implies.

The only Smurfs who really matter are Clumsy (the accidental hero) and Papa (the wise leader), the rest delivering lines here and there, living up to their name/personalities but that’s about it.

Hank Azaria isn’t completely awful as the villain, but his running around and constant bad luck situations (ala Wile E. Coyote) get tiresome. The only suspense is centered on the Smurfs returning back home, which takes twenty minutes too long to accomplish.

And if you take a shot each time Harris points out how frivolous the original storyline of the Smurfs is, or how annoying they are, you’d be a goner.

But now for the real question: is it good for children? Best let them decide – but perhaps wait to rent the DVD so you can escape into another room once it starts.
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