Sorry, couldn’t resist. Spellcheck (thankfully) doesn’t know “smurfiest” but you will, after seeing the super fun “The Smurfs,” released July 29th as a combined effort from Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animations.
I hate myself for really liking this movie but it was so fun. Maybe my expectations were low after the last couple movies we’ve seen failed to deliver (Rango and Cars 2).
Part animation, part live action, this movie is full of clever one-liners all around. The biggest treat (and possibly the most spot-on casting of the year) is Hank Azaria as the evil wizard Gargamel.
Azaria and the quasi-animated cat Azrael (Scooby-doo’s voice Frank Welker) steal the show from the furry little blue folks. Their love-hate interaction is hilarious. My husband and I laughed out loud but the humor was truly funny, not over-their-heads adult humor.
In a typical fish-out-of-water storyline, a portal opens from the Smurfs’ world to the real world and a small group of Smurfs, including Papa Smurf (Johnathan Winters) and a handful of his 99 sons and one daughter, Smurfette (Katy Perry) are suddenly thrust into New York’s Central Park to find their way around while being chased by Gargamel, who has followed them.
It was hilarious to me that Azaria’s character walked around New York City wearing a black robe and tall red shoes and no one batted an eye.
The Smurfs end up staying with Patrick Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris) and his pregnant wife Grace (the super sweet Jayma Mays). Of course, their hilarious antics threaten Patrick’s job working for the powerful executive Odile (Sofía Vergara) but eventually they save the day and make him a hero, while helping him understand what is truly important in life (ah, yes, the big lesson we all need as a take-away). And, (spoiler alert) yes, they escape Gargamel and get back home (shocker!).
The motley band of Smurfs includes Papa Smurf, Smurfette (who is thrilled when she realizes you CAN wear more than one outfit in the real world), Clumsy (Anton Yelchin), the Scottish Gutsy (Alan Cumming), Brainy (Fred Armisen) and Grouchy (George Lopez).
The story is typical and predictable and it drags just a bit in parts but for the most part, it is really fun. If this is any indication, the 86-minute film kept my 3-year-old’s attention throughout the entire movie. The last couple movies have failed to keep him engaged, so that right there was the worth the price of admission for us.
Definitely a good one to check out that all age levels will enjoy. It’s Smurf-sational! (sorry).
Marijo Tinlin is the editor in chief of Family First, one of the oldest family-oriented websites on the internet. She is also the author of the new book “How to Raise an American Patriot, Making it Okay for Our Kids to Be Proud to Be American” available at www.raisinganamericanpatriot.com.
Photo: Columbia Pictures