Smurfs 2 is not an awful movie. However, it is one that is predictable and trite and likely to be enjoyed by kids way more than their parents.
I saw the movie on Sunday as a sneak preview with both my kids, ages six and nine. My six year old really loved it. My nine year old thought it was OK. I was glad when it ended.
The movie takes place on Smurfette’s birthday. The smurfs ignore Smurfette in order to avoid her finding out about their surprise party (Yes, you see what I mean about predictable and mundane). Gargamel, the evil wizard who created Smurfette years before as a fake smurf, wants to know the formula Papa Smurf used to turn Smurfette real. Having created two more fake smurfs (which he calls Naughties), Gargamel plans to use the Naughties to kidnap Smurfette and force her to tell him the formula Papa used. Once he has the formula, Gargamel plans to create an army of Smurfs, whose essence he can painfully extract and use to power his magic wand.
The parallel human story involves Neil Patrick Harrison’s character of Patrick. When Smurfette is smurfnapped (OK, the lingo is fun) by Gargamel’s female Naughty, Vixie, Papa grabs some smurfs and heads to Patrick for help with the rescue. Patrick’s stepfather Victor is visiting. Only Patrick — a grown man with a son of his own — hates his stepfather because Victor is not his “real” father. This is despite Victor having been, by all accounts, a very loving, affectionate stepfather who treated Patrick’s mother well. Victor also appears to be a doting grandfather to Patrick’s son, Blue.
The movie makes much of the idea of bloodlines and the people who created you, versus the families that love you and take you on as one of their own. You get to see Smurfette deciding if she should help Gargamel because he is the one who created her, even though Papa Smurf invited her to stay in the Smurf world. Patrick also struggles with the idea that loving Victor is somehow a slight to the “real” father who abandoned him. It’s a bit preachy and unrealistic, which is probably what grated on me most. Good messages in overbearing, unrealistic packages are probably more annoying to adults than kids. Hence, why the kids liked it more than the adults.
Once the search for Smurfette begins, a lot of hijinks ensue and everything is resolved happily for the good guys and not so happily for the bad guys, as one would expect.
The movie is a movie you take your kids to if they ask. It’s not the best way to spend two hours, but it’s not the worst either. If the kids don’t ask to see it, don’t suggest it. Instead, go see Turbo or try Desicable Me 2 (which I still haven’t seen) or wait for Percy Jackson (which looks pretty awesome if your kids are old enough; or pretty awesome if you want to go without your kids).