The Smurfs 2

Call me Gargamel.

Even though I freely admitted 2011’s The Smurfs was mildly entertaining (and I do mean mildly), I’m pretty sure there was no reason to make a sequel… especially since it re-treads all of the tired goofiness from the first while also jettisoning all of the self-deprecating humor that made the original watchable.

This time evil Gargamel (Hank Azaria) is running out of Smurf Essence, so he hatches a nefarious plan to get more; he sends his latest creation (a “Naughty” pseudo-Smurf named Vexy, voiced by Christina Ricci) through a wormhole to Smurf Village to kidnap Smurfette (Katy Perry). Papa (Jonathan Winters), Clumsy (Anton Yelchin), Vanity (John Oliver), and Grouchy (George Lopez) all come back through their own wormhole to rescue her. And there’s also Neil Patrick Harris. And it’s set in Paris, so there’s that.

Give the writers credit– their Smurf-isms aren’t just limited to adjectives anymore; now we get bon mots like “Smurf-ageddon” and “Smurf-holm Syndrome”. Unfortunately we’re also treated to a scene whose sole purpose is making fun of children with peanut (and other) allergies, and heaven knows why Neil Patrick Harris would lend his immeasurable talents to this thing, particularly since his character is an unapologetic jerk for 9/10 of the movie.

Director Raja Gosnell, who also helmed the original, does a decent job with the effects and also in taking advantage of the 3D-ness, but he’s hamstrung by a script that is frankly too juvenile and slapsticky for any adult to get any enjoyment out of.

For the younger elements of the Disney Channel crowd, The Smurfs 2 will likely serve as a happy way to spend some time in a darkened theater, but it offers precious little for anyone over the age of ten. And that’s the Smurfin’ truth.

2/5 stars