Trying and desperately failing to get hold of the devastatingly powerful Smurf essence, Gargamel (Hank Azaria) concocts a new plan, to create his own Smurfs called the Naughties, to go undercover in their world and assist their master in harnessing all of the essence he needs. However once he discovers that only a real Smurf can trick them, he needs to get his hands on the secret spell that Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters) had used to change Smurfette (Katy Perry) – so, with the help of his mischievous creations Vexy (Christina Ricci) and Hackus (J.B. Smoove), they kidnap the birthday girl, leaving the Smurfs to venture to Paris, to not only save their dear friend, but the entire future of their kingdom.
The Smurfs 2 is very much of the same ilk as the first, so if you or your kids enjoyed that picture, then there is no reason at all why this Raja Gosnell production won’t have much of the same impact. There is no denying this is harmless, enjoyable fun that younger audiences will enjoy, however it’s simply lacking in any depth that will provide the adults in the audience with anything to cling on to. However there are a handful of laughs to be had – with the recurring (yet consistently amusing) joke whereby profanities are replaced by Smurf words (“I just Smurfed myself”).
Another plus point comes in the sub story concerning the Smurfs human friends Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and Grace (Jayma Mays), who courageously decide to help their little blue companions. They are joined this time with the former’s step father Victor (Brendan Gleeson), and a somewhat touching narrative is introduced of a man who has always struggled to accept his step-father as his real dad. It’s a theme dealt with delicately, and with Gleeson on board, it’s safe to say efficiently, too. The other stand-out performance is that of Azaria, who makes a fantastic children’s villain. With a blend of comedic eccentricity and downright nefariousness and the occasional shade of Professor Frink, he lights up the picture on several instances. However his grand finale is understated somewhat, with an anticlimactic ending that could do with being more grandiose and weighty. Paris looks nice, anyway.
It’s difficult to leave The Smurfs 2 feeling too disappointed given it’s exactly as one would expect – however that’s not quite a worthy excuse for what is ultimately a dishevelled picture that fails to truly capture the enchantment of the Peyo creation. With a third film in the reckoning, it begs the question of how they’re going to be able to squeeze yet another picture out of this franchise. There are only so many adventures the Smurfs can go on, and only so many ways they can defeat Gargamel, and perhaps a new antagonist could be introduced to spice things up a bit? To be honest, I really can’t be Smurfed to sit through another.