Midway through Raja Gosnell’s Smurfs sequel, Grumpy Smurf turns over a new leaf. Sick of being annoyed (and of annoying others), he starts to view the world – and the mission involving his pint-size friends – through rose-colored glasses. He even adopts the nickname Positive Smurf. Suddenly, things don’t seem half bad. Grumpy’s upbeat outlook must be contagious, because The Smurfs 2 seems more enjoyable than Gosnell’s 2011 family feature. Daddy dilemmas plague our true-blue heroes this time out. On her latest birthday, Smurfette (voiced by pop star Katy Perry) feels like an outcast in the cheerful Smurf village and wonders whether she’s better off with her “birth” father – the evil wizard, Gargamel (Hank Azaria, earning his paycheck with diligent vamping). Meanwhile, in New York City, human Smurf allies Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and Grace Winslow (Jayma Mays) contend with the sudden arrival of Patrick’s coarse, self-centered father-inlaw, Victor (Brendan Gleeson). And in Paris, Gargamel and his dishwater-gray minions, the Naughties, have hatched a new scheme to kidnap Smurfette and steal the precious essence that turned her blue. Almost everything about Smurfs 2 signifies an improvement over the original. Five credited screenwriters overload Gosnell with an abundance of lightweight story lines, allowing Smurfs 2 to bounce along and sidestep the superfluous comedic potholes that knocked the first film off course.
THE SMURFS 2
Played by Ethan Hawke, Ellison Oswalt is a true-crime writer who, in an effort to research his next book, moves with his wife and two children into a house where the last occupants were hung from a tree in the back yard. Before he has fully unpacked, Ellison discovers a box in the attic containing a movie projector and a stack of Super 8 films with explicit footage of that most recent massacre, along with several other similarly grisly murders. After watching a few minutes of this snuff-film library, Ellison realises someone must have left the movies specifically for him. He does what any sane, responsible father would do: consult a specialist in the occult, who tells Ellison that the culprit is most likely the ancient Babylonian deity Bughuul, who feeds on the souls of children. None of this, of course, means that the movie isn’t scary. It actually is, from time to time. But it’s the kind of empty-calorie terror that may make you jump for a second – but that doesn’t keep you up at night. The Independent, Washington Post