In a fit of desperation, I took my kids to see the Smurf movie. I had to be out of the house for three hours, during the early evening, and it was raining and storming. They don’t do malls, all play places are closing at that hour, and my fun plan of dinner at the pool was out the window. Plan B was dinner at Chik-Fil-A and a movie. We’ve already seen Cars 2. The Pooh movie only had a 68 minute running time, which made it a complete waste, and Zookeeper looked awful. That left us with the Smurfs.
Now, I love me some Neil Patrick Harris. He’s part of the Whedonverse and if you haven’t yet seen Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog, I highly suggest you download it from iTunes immediately. Actually, just go ahead and YouTube his opening number at the Tony Awards while you are at it. If you don’t laugh out loud at least once, well, we can’t be friends. I honestly believed that with NPH in it, it truly couldn’t be that bad. Sadly, I was mistaken.
For the record, my kids loved it. They actually laughed out loud at times and were really into it. Obviously, they have no taste.
Let’s start by discussing language. In this movie, the words “fuck” and “smurf” were interchangeable. Fuck you became Smurf You. Abso-fucking-lutely, became Abso-Smurf-ly. Perhaps my childhood memory is playing tricks on me, but I don’t remember Smurf being a curse word before. It certainly became one in this movie. It is just modernization? Was it an attempt to amuse the parents in the audience? I don’t know, but it got old pretty quickly. However, if I could get Samuel L. Jackson to record “Go the Smurf to Bed!” I would die happy.
My problems with the movie itself were numerous. It’s like someone at Sony decided they needed to make money on merchandising and built a movie around that concept. Big brands paid big money to be in this movie. But never was the product placement anything but egregious; every product felt like it was shoehorned into the script by marketing. Plus, who did Joan Rivers blow to get in this movie? The woman hasn’t been relevant since Papa Smurf was growing his first ‘stache, yet she still managed to get a line. And don’t think I didn’t notice James Beard award winner and Top Chef host Tom Colicchio just randomly standing around in one scene looking embarrassed. What on earth was he doing there?
The movie picked up and dropped plot lines worse than Glee, which is really saying something. Every joke was obvious. Even New York City got dumbed down. I think little blue creatures three apples tall are easier to believe in that finding Central Park deserted on a warm spring night. Also, could we put a moratorium on FAO Schwartz in movies? Please? For me? Poor Hank Azaria acted like he wandered off the set of Enchanted while the rest of the actors just gamely did their best to interact with empty sightlines. It was a mess. Child friendly doesn’t have to mean stupid. Just ask Pixar.
I know I sound crazy nitpicking a PG movie for kids, and I openly admit that I am a movie snob and am so not the target audience, but still! I think everyone should always do their best at their craft. At this was by far, not the best that NPH has to offer. Not by a long shot.