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DIRECTOR: Raja Gosnell
CAST: Neil Patrick Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Jayma Mays, Hank Azaria, Katy Perry, Jonathan Winters, Christina Ricci, JB Smoove, George Lopez, Anton Yelchin, John Oliver, Jacob Tremblay
RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes
Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, Jayma Mays and Katy Perry return for a fairly rote sequel.
Time flies when you’re not wondering about the welfare of the Smurfs, those diminutive, animated blue-skinned forest-dwellers.
Turns out they’ve been just fine since their 2011 big-screen outing, but there’s trouble brewing in their new adventure-comedy that will require their curious blend of wide-eyed optimism and goofy enthusiasm to peacefully resolve.
A sequel largely unwarranted other than for box office and promotional purposes, the unimaginatively titled The Smurfs 2 should have little trouble scaling stratospheric heights similar to its predecessor with undiscriminating young audiences and their chaperones.
The occasion of Smurfette’s (Perry) birthday presents the opportunity for her to recall her conflicted origins – rather than a “true-blue” Smurf, she was created by the hapless wannabe evil sorcerer Gargamel (Azaria), who now intends to kidnap her from her enchanted-forest home to obtain the formula for the magical Smurf essence that Papa Smurf (Winters) used to originally bestow her with blue-skinned bliss.
Once he has the secret, Gargamel plans to power up a host of Naughties, Smurf-sized creatures he’s created, to help him take over the world.
So he dispatches his Naughty daughter Vexy (Ricci) to drag Smurfette through a magic portal and into the real world where he can more effectively manipulate her inherent identity issues.
Papa Smurf and his mis-matched extraction team consisting of Grouchy (Lopez), Clumsy (Yelchin) and Vanity (Oliver) will have to portal to the live-action world to reunite in Paris with the sympathetic young family of Patrick (Harris) and Grace (Mays) Winslow, their live-action counterparts from the original movie, if they’re to have any chance of rescuing Smurfette.
Returning the movie to the European locale of the Belgian Smurfs comic-strip originator, Pierre Culliford, does add some visual interest, with Paris as the scenic backdrop for the Smurfs’ rescue mission, but beyond the classic cityscapes, there’s little innovative in this rather formulaic follow-up.
Beyond a few chuckle-worthy one-liners and some amusing visual comedy, there’s not much to engage adults, although the wee ones should be distracted enough.
With the exception of Gargamel’s awkwardly rendered CGI cat cohort Azrael, the mix of animation and live action appears fairly seamless in a 3D rendition that helps keep the movie from slipping into the overly saccharine variation favoured by the fully animated 1980s TV series. – Hollywood ReporterIf you liked The Smurfs you will like this.