Considering we didn't need a The Smurfs in 2011, do we really need a Smurfs 2? We could have - in Smurf vernacular - Smurfed without it. Of course, this is the adult movie critic speaking. I'm not a kid and this - insert any personal favorite derogatory term here - Smurf isn't aimed at me.
My grand niece, who accompanied me to the screening of The Smurfs 2, vehemently disagreed with my take on the movie. She loved it and much to the chagrin of the attending parents, so did the dozens of other children that morning.
The Smurfs 2 brings back the original cast and adds a couple of new characters. It's Smurfette's birthday and she's feeling unappreciated by the others. After all, she's not a real Smurf and was created by Gargamel. The evil wizard is now a celebrity in this world and has created two new almost-Smurfs, Vexy and Hackus. He uses them to try to get Smurfette to reveal the Smurf secret.
Once he obtains that, Gargamel will capture all of the Smurfs and sap their powers and rule the world.
Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria and Jayma Mays reprise their real-life roles. Also new to the mix is Patrick's stepfather, who is nicely and quite comically done by Brendan Gleeson. Katy Perry, Jonathan Winters and others from the original movie do the Smurf voices.
Christina Ricci and J.B. Smoove play Vexy and Hackus.
Raja Gosnell -- who did the original -- directs, and eight writers put together the plot. When you need eight writers to tell a story, it probably isn't worth telling. But again, that's the adult movie critic speaking. Children will love this one, and as bad as The Smurfs 2 is, it is smurf-years better than the first one.
Director: Raja Gosnell
Stars: Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, Brendan Gleeson, Jayma Mays, Katy Perry, Christina Ricci, Jonathan Winters, J.B. Smoove, George Lopez, Anton Yelchin, Jeff Foxworhty, Alan Cumming, Paul Rubens, Shaquille O'Neal, Jimmy Kimmel, Mario Lopez
Mr. Movie rating: 1 star
Kids rating: 4 stars
Rated PG for mature themes. It's playing at Regal's Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.