Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Smurfs - Movie Review

ll 1/2

Starring Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, Jayma Mays, Sofia Vergara, Tim Gunn, and the voices of Jonathan Winters, Katy Perry, Anton Yelchin, Alan Cumming, Fred Armsien, George Lopez and Frank Welker. Directed by Raja Gosnell.

I'll admit I saw every episode of the first few season of the Smurfs when I was younger, at least up until they introduced the country smurfs, Baby Smurf, Grandpa Smurf, and so forth. I was getting older, and it felt like a shark-jumping move. But I still remember Papa, Smurfette, Brainy, Clumsy, Jokey, Hefty, Handy, Greedy, Vanity, Grouchy, Lazy, Harmony, Poet, Painter, Natural, etc. Always felt like there was limitless story potential there.

But the movie decides to take the Enchanted route. Gargamel (Hank Azaria) at long last finds the Smurf village, but in running from him, six Smurfs take a path they've never seen before and wind up going through a portal that opens up every blue moon. The six (Papa, Smurfette, Brainy, Grouchy, Clumsy, and Gutsy) dive through, followed by Gargamel and his cat Azriel. They land in New York's Central Park.

Cut to Neil Patrick Harris, a likeable host for our B-story. He plays Patrick, expectant father and stressed-out marketing manager for Angelou, THE cosmetics chain of New York. Sofia Vergara is his boss from hell, a combo of Meryl Streep's Prada-wearing devil with a little of Horrible Bosses' Kevin Spacey thrown in. He's about to launch a new ad campaign, and so having these little blue guys show up in his apartment becomes a great inconvenience.

And an inconvenience is all it really is. After the "Aaaahh!" wears off, he goes back to business as usual, like they just inherited six puppies. It's all about worrying about his job.

I found the whole thing watchable. I enjoyed Azaria's commitment to playing a live-action cartoon. It's geared for kids and wasn't too bad for adults with nostalgia. If you have no nostalgia for them, then it'll probably be boring.

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