movieREVIEW: The Smurfs


You may remember the saccharine-sweet cartoon with the annoyingly catchy theme song that this movie attempts to bring to life and reinvent at the same time. It employs an impressive voice cast that includes veterans like Jonathan Winters and Tom Kane (the voice of Yoda from the “Star Wars” series) as well as newer talents such as Anton Yelchin and pop singer Katy Perry.
It also employs the talents of Hank Azaria as the evil wizard Gargamel obsessed with harvesting the Smurfs for their ‘essence’ in order to become even more powerful.
The plot, credited to four screenwriters, involves Papa Smurf (voiced by Winters) and his band of Smurfs accidentally landing up in New York City while escaping from Gargamel. Through a series of coincidences, they land up in the apartment belonging to Patrick Winslow (a reasonably competent Neil Patrick Harris, who keeps a straight face throughout despite moments of utter corniness) and his pregnant wife Grace (Jayma Mays, a dead ringer for Anna Faris).
As Patrick attempts to impress his bitchy client Odile (Sofia Vergara) with his ideas in order to secure a promotion, he finds himself getting more and more involved in the Smurfs’ predicament.
The Smurfs follows the established pattern set by live action animation movies in recent years down to the last detail.
Celebrity cast? Check. Enough inside humour to keep the critics/movie geeks happy? Check. Worldwide release in 3D with enough sequences to justify the latter? Double check.
It’s as paint-by-numbers as a movie can get, save for a few moments here and there. It doesn’t help that this is a movie directed by Raja Gosnell, maker of “Home Alone 3” and “Never Been Kissed”.
One can be rest assured that his ‘90s family comedy sensibilities are alive and kicking in this movie. But surely, no one walking into this movie could expect anything more from it? This is a film with a simple and clear agenda that it fulfils quite satisfactorily – to cater to the under-12 audience and fans of the comic/cartoon series.
Meanwhile, hapless adults who find themselves dragged to a movie theatre by their kids needn’t despair: The Smurfs is forgettable, instant-noodles cinema that is easy enough to digest. It may even leave you with a smile on your face, if only for a very short while.