For those unfamiliar with the Smurf universe (created in the 1950s by the Belgian artist Peyo for a comic book and later a TV cartoon series), "The Smurfs" may well be a little overwhelming. Why does the villain Gargamel (Hank Azaria) have a name that sounds like a sore-throat product? Why are there countless male Smurfs and only one female? (The mind boggles.) Why do they only know one song, and why is it so irritating? So many questions.
Nonetheless, there are certainly some random pleasures to be found in "The Smurfs." My favorite examples were the appearance of "Project Runway's" Tim Gunn as a cosmetics-industry flunky and the character of Narrator Smurf (Tom Kane, whose voice will be familiar to anyone who's seen a movie trailer), who of course narrates things.
Otherwise, it's your basic kid-friendly tale of little blue creatures slipping through a vortex and turning up in the yuppie Manhattan apartment of Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and Grace (Jayma Mays), who are almost as cute as Smurfs themselves. The bad guys (which include a cat who deserves a better script) lose and stuff, as you might expect, and all ends, well, Smurfingly.
For the kids in the audience, anyway.
- The Seattle Times