Film Review: The Smurfs has some impressive 3D sequences and genuine laugh-out-loud moments, but the human characters are hard to care for.
Anyone raised on the 1980s cartoon series may vaguely recall that The Smurfs’ signature joke is to smuggle the word Smurf into as many expressions as possible. And should you still be Smurf enough to find that sort of Smurf absolutely Smurflarious you will Smurf this. Everyone else better find something else to Smurf.
Papa Smurf, Smurfette ( Katy Perry) and 99 male Smurfs live in giant mushrooms in peaceful Smurf village, fearing only the wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria). But this being their first grown-up movie, six Smurfs are soon transported to New York so we can see them interact with semi-famous TV actors (Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays, the OCD counsellor from Glee) and tons of Sony product placement.
Technically, the blending of animation and live action is pretty impressive, with some of the best 3D since that other film with bright blue creatures. And a few of the Smurfs – notably Clumsy – score sporadic laughs by living up to their names.
If there’s a real problem, it’s the humans. Pairing the Smurfs with a power couple expecting their first baby is a major error. With no children their own age to relate to, kids are asked to care about Harris’s marketing executive keeping his high-paying job. Yeah, right.