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HindustanTimes Mon,20 Oct 2014

Critics' review: Smurfs 2 is a smurfing disaster

Durga M Sengupta, Hindustantimes.com  New Delhi, August 02, 2013
First Published: 14:59 IST(2/8/2013) | Last Updated: 15:16 IST(2/8/2013)

Director Raja Gosnell seems to have goofed up real bad with this one. Smurfs 2, a sequel to the 2011 hit that left parents wondering why, is nothing less than a smurfaster (excuse the language), critics say.

Speaking of language, the film has received much flak for trying a bit too hard. "The most wearisome thing about spending time with Smurfs (is) their pernicious habit of inserting the word Smurf for nouns, verbs, adjectives, you name it, whenever they have anything to say. The Smurf-berries thing, for example, or one of the rescuers speculating that Smurfette, in Gargamel's clutches, might be suffering from Smurf-holm Syndrome. Or one of them simply wondering, "Hey, who smurfed a bite of Smurfette's birthday cake."

"It's enough to drive somebody out of his ever-Smurfing mind," writes Bruce Ingram in Chicago Sun Times.

Well Ingram seems affected. (So is yours truly)

The "Smurf-holm Syndrome" seems to be an irritant for most reviewers. "The Smurfs 2 is a deeply irritating film for any adult. It commits several cinematic sins, including cheapening Paris landmarks with CGI Smurfs, making horrid attempts at adult-friendly Smurf puns, such as "Smurf-holm syndrome," and wasting legendary comedian Jonathan Winters's final film role as the voice of Papa Smurf," writes Phil Brown in The Globe and the Mail.

Smurftastic!

But, you would still go watch it for your kid, won't you? Peter Hartlaub tells you why you shouldn't.

"There's a dark and gratuitously negative vibe to The Smurfs 2 that makes it unfit even for the undiscriminating young moviegoers that made the first one a hit. Save the $20 and just take your kid into the backyard to pull the wings off flies, or burn ants with a magnifying glass. There's so much torture and suffering in this movie, it starts to feel like Zero Dark Smurfy," Hartlaub notes in The SFGate.

But is there anything for kids to look forward to in Smurfs 2? Sure, if they like tiny blue people delivering life lessons.

Laremy Legel writes in Film.com, "What there is, in place of plot, are lessons galore, tidbits you can repeat to your child to form a more respectful youth. I will break down these lessons for future generations, in an effort to save them from The Smurfs 2. First off, it doesn't matter where you came from, it matters how you act now. Smurfette learns that one in a big way. Second, don't be mean to your stepparents, because they were probably just doing their best the whole time. Third, family comes first (just like in Fast and Furious 6!). Fourth, Neil Patrick Harris (as Patrick) has an uncanny ability to act opposite thin air (CGI'd Smurfs). That's it! Those are the lessons from The Smurfs 2 - which have of course been done before by better (and less obvious) movies. Namely, The Smurfs."

Well, if you've already paid for your tickets, we suggest you stop reading…

…because this film doesn't even score on performances.

"As Gargamel, the leering wizard who dresses like a Trappist Monk and has now abducted Smurfette, Hank Azaria munches on the scenery like he was being paid by the decibel," Owen Gleiberman bashes Azaria with perfection in the Entertainment Weekly.

"Hank Azaria returns as the Smurf-hating wizard, and is just as ugly and repulsive as in the first film, with even more screen time. There is nothing to root for in The Smurfs 2, other than a box office disaster to prevent a sequel," writes Hartlaub, seconding Gleiberman's disdain.

Wow. Is there ANYTHING good about this film at all?

Surpringly, Laremy Legel nods slowly.

"To the film's credit, The Smurfs 2 is an ode to the value of stepparents, perhaps hoping to undo a couple hundred years of "evil stepmom" fairy tales. That's a laudable angle, and Brendan Gleeson, as Patrick's stepdad, shrouds himself in about as much glory as a film like The Smurfs 2 will allow," Legel writes in Film.com.

But wait, the film has another taker (if you can call him that).

Sean O'Connell of The Washington Post found The Smurfs 2 "more enjoyable and far less obnoxious than Gosnell's 2011 family feature." Doesn't really say much, does it?

"This, of course, is like saying having a cavity filled is preferable to a root canal, but in the dog days of the summer blockbuster season, beggars can't be smurfers," he adds.

Bummer. Painful analogy.

All in all, as Legel puts it, "It's nothing to write home about, heck, it's nothing to leave home for. A Smurfin' shame, this one, a Smurfin' shame."

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