First a Belgian comic strip in the 1950s.
Then a hit and now classic cartoon TV series from 1981 to 1989.
Now 20-some years after the series is cancelled, the Smurfs are movie stars.
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This TV-sitcomish plot has a few of the little blue creatures sucked through a portal and into modern day New York City. They’re followed by their nemesis, the evil wizard Gargamel and his obnoxious cat.
Befriended by a couple played by Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays, the Smurfs -- led by Papa Smurf -- try to find a magic spell that will get them home.
So much talent is wasted in this film. Neil Patrick Harris for one, and the vocal talents of Jonathan Winters as Papa Smurf, perpetual character vocal actor Alan Cumming, megastar in the making Katy Perry, George Lopez, Anton Yelchin and country comedian Jeff Foxworthy.
Then there’s an unrecognizable Hank Azaria playing Gargamel. At this point in his career and in a film this bad, being unrecognizable could have been by choice.
I suppose you can say The Smurfs tops the crap churned out for kids on today’s cartoon networks and be accurate. That’s not saying much. The “funniest” scenes are some gross things the cat does to himself and Gargamel’s comments about them.
Much of that goes over the heads of really little ones, and there isn’t enough of that kind of humor to keep older kids or adults that interested. An overly adult plot cobbles up the second and third acts and will bore your little ones to tears.
You also have the option of seeing the — unfortunately — one-dimensional The Smurfs in three dimensions or two.
Heavy sigh. I saw this one so you don’t have to.
Mr. Movie rating: 1 star
Rated PG for mature themes. It opens Friday, July 29 at the Carmike 12 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
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 video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.