For Phoebe's last Friday before starting school we went to see the Smurf movie. Although she thought it was "smurf-larious" and Chloe loved Hank Azaria's Gargamel, I found myself wondering, "What the Smurf?!" Why did the smurfs have to leave their village? I grew up watching the cartoon on Saturday mornings so I can tell you that there's enough in the Smurf Village to entertain children. Jokey smurf alone is good for a couple of laughs.
After the first twenty minutes, Gargamel chases six smurfs (Papa, Smurfette, Brainy, Grouchy, Clumsy, and Gutsy--who's Gutsy? why couldn't they bring Jokey or Handy?) into a portal that takes them to New York City. Why NYC? Perhaps, the filmmakers were influenced by the success of "Enchanted"? The only reason I can think of for bringing the smurfs to NYC is for the sake of the grownups who have to accompany the children to the movie. Too bad once we get to NYC, the thin story line disappoints. Even t.v. favorites Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, and Sofia Vergara can't save the movie. Other than admiring Harris and Mays' cute apartment, I found the story too dumbed down to appeal to any adult.
The poor kids probably felt ripped off, too, because they expected to see a movie about just smurfs. Because it's a PG movie, we can assume the audience is young children. However, because they introduced grownups into the movie, Neil Patrick Harris's character has to undergo some sort of change. (He learns to appreciate the "blue-moon" moments in life, that he's ready to become a father, and to stop playing it safe professionally.) Although Clumsy smurf learns not to be defined by his clumsiness, the movie could have delivered more sophisticated messages if it focused its audience to children under the age of thirteen.
Pros: Very wholesome for young children--swear words replaced with smurf!
Cons: Smurfs leave the village.
The verdict: Wait for the rental.