In the world of children’s films, smart studios respect the ticket buyer: parents, not just the intended audiences. This is how you end up having adults that can quote ‘Shrek’ by heart, while others are content filling their shelves with Buzz and Woody dolls. Then there are, sadly, those few movies that are solely for the “night light” crowd. Sure, Smurfs are cute, blue, and sickeningly moral (while no-one questions the legitimacy of one female in a village of men) - and so long as you can plonk a child in front on a television set to watch them without you accompanying them, why should you care? Well, because they’re back on the big screen, you’re forking over the dough and will be forced to endure the film's 105 minute running time.
‘The Smurfs 2’ picks up a few years down the track from the events of 2011‘s ‘The Smurfs’. Gargamel (Hank Azaria) is now a world-famous “magician”, while all the Smurfs are safe and sound back in their village. In the lead-up to her birthday, Smurfette (Katy Perry) is having a little identity crisis, trying to figure out the whole nature versus nurture debate - she is, after all, the product of evil Gargamel. While the other Smurfs plot her surprise birthday party, a vulnerable Smurfette gets kidnapped by Gargamel’s latest creations, the Naughties, so she can tell them the secret formula for making Smurfs. Desperate, the Smurfs turn to old friends Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris and Grace (Jayma Mayes), who have troubles of their own when Patrick’s step-father Victor (Brendan Gleeson) comes to town.
This sequel to the monstrously successful 2011 reboot was purely financially motivated. There’s not a lot of substance here. Despite tackling lovely subjects such as what constitutes a family and the issue of blended families, this is still a painfully and obnoxiously juvenile film. From the characters to the jokes, there is nothing here for ages 8 and up. So for any parent or step-parent out there willing to take this bullet - god bless you, and good luck.