Let’s go smurf­ing now

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Movies - LEIGH PAATSCH smurfhap­pens. com Now show­ing Vil­lage Cine­mas

IN THE wrong hands, this live-ac­tion-car­toon hy­brid could have been an­other Alvin and the Chipmunks. Or worse, its Squeakuel.

So it is some­thing of a re­lief that this en­er­getic kid­die flick is bet­ter than ex­pected.

The plot has the fa­mous blue gnome-like crea­tures com­i­cally fend­ing for them­selves in the real world, with the aid of an angst-rid­den ad exec named Pa­trick ( Neil Pa­trick Har­ris) and his perky preg­nant wife Grace ( Jayma Mays). Away from their na­tive, magic-fairy­land habi­tat, the Smurfs are a generic bunch. Like Snow White’s seven dwarves, each char­ac­ter is chris­tened ac­cord­ing to a defin­ing trait ( Gutsy, Brainy, Grouchy, Jokey and, in an ef­fi­cient left-of-cen­tre touch, Nar­ra­tor), and do lit­tle more than like­ably live up to their names. The ex­cep­tion is the only fe­male of the gang, Smur­fette ( voiced by pop diva Katy Perry).

The best thing about the pro­duc­tion is its very amus­ing vil­lain Gargamel, played with an in­spired air of ham­mi­ness by Hank Azaria. To­gether with his purr-fect part­ner in crime Azrael ( a most fiendish fe­line), the wiz­ardly Gargamel’s spells are no match for the over­pow­er­ing Smurf­ness all around him.

Very young view­ers will be happy with the humour in play, though some par­ents may even­tu­ally be left lighter of pocket by the re­lent­less pro­mo­tion of Sony prod­ucts threaded through­out the pic­ture.

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