- Running time:
- 102 minutes
- Hank Azaria -
- Neil Patrick Harris -
- Patrick Winslow
- Jayma Mays -
- Grace Winslow
- Sofía Vergara -
- Tim Gunn -
When the evil sorcerer Gargamel (Hank Azaria) discovers the secret location of the Smurfs' village, the Lilliputian blue creatures frantically flee but accidentally get sucked into a magical vortex that transports them to modern-day Manhattan. There, Papa Smurf and crew literally fall into the hands of expectant couple Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and Grace (Jayma Mays) who try to help them return home, but Gargamel isn't far behind to thwart their plans.
The buzz: Disproportionately sized CGI blue people in 3D—"Avatar" wants its royalty check, Papa Smurf! The '80s cartoon mainstay gets a Hollywood-movie gig (and an upgrade from animated 2D), attempting to capitalize on the retro nostalgia of Gen X-ers who grew up watching the Saturday-morning series while roping in newer audiences weaned on Twitter-gen draws like Harris and Katy Perry (who voices Smurfette). The movie also hopes to Smurf-surf a recent wave of similar CGI/live action hybrids like "Alvin and the Chipmunks" and "Hop," which scored quite well at the box office.
The verdict: Size isn't the only thing that comes up short in this bland, uninspired redo that's short on laughs and long on outsize kiddie-movie clichés more pandering than entertaining. Azaria, in particular, is cringe-inducing in his hammy attempt to bring a cartoon villain to life—something that's certainly been done with whippy snap before (see: Glenn Close as Cruella de Vil) but here resembles a tragic mash-up of The Wicked Witch of the West and Norma Desmond. There are also bargain-bin punchlines ("What do you get when you cross a Smurf with a cow? Blue cheese!"), standard Smurf-isms ("Smurf-xactly!" "I'll be Smurfed!") and inadvertently hilarious dialogue ("Thanks for letting me stay in your mushroom," one Smurf tells Grace) that only underscores just how quirky and sorta creepy the general premise is to begin with. A hundred boys…and then Smurfette, who in the movie says she was created by Gargamel to infiltrate Smurf village before being won over. Even the typically classy and engaging Tim Gunn (who pops up in a subplot involving a cosmetics company run by Sofia Vergara of "Modern Family" fame) proves painful to watch, as he unleashes wooden one-liners with the conviction of a hack designer ripping off last season's Prada. "Smurf me!" Patrick says at one point in the movie, dazed at what he sees. "Smurf me" indeed.
Did you know? Most folks know The Smurfs from the '80s cartoon, but the characters were actually created back in 1958 by Belgian artist Pierre Culliford, under the pen name Peyo. And although "The Smurfs" is the brand's first CGI/live-action outing, it's not the first Smurfs movie. In 1976, Peyo directed the feature-length animated "The Smurfs and the Magic Flute."
"The Smurfs” is also playing in 2D. Find local showtimes here.
Movie theaters and showtimes for The Smurfs 3D in Louisville.
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