Saturday, July 30, 2011

Shocker: Smurfs Ripped by Critics

'The Smurfs' (Photo by Columbia Pictures)
This probably isn't going to come as much of a shock: "The Smurfs" is not a critical darling.

The Hollywood Reporter's Michael Rechtshaffen gets right to the point, calling the film "numbingly generic." "For all the digitally enhanced Smurfness, the results are remarkably mirthless" and "thoroughly uninspired." The movie serves as proof, Rechtshaffen writes, that "Hollywood seems to have no intention of leaving any '80s pop culture touchstone unturned." What's next? "Where's the Beef: the Movie"?
Keith Staskiewicz of Entertainment Weekly gives the movie a D+ and writes that it has the stink of a shameless cash-grab full of recycled ideas. He calls the flick "half animated, half live action, and all careful studio calculation." Probably not the kind of pull-quote the studio execs were hoping for.
The Onion's AV Club also gives the movie a D+. Reviewer Tasha Robinson writes that kids may find the frantic action fun, "but for adults, watching 'The Smurfs' may feel a little too much like trying to wrangle an overcrowded kiddie birthday party." Most likely to enjoy the film are those "who can't get enough of characters smacking face-first into glass surfaces."
E! Online's L. Thompson rips right into the movie, calling it "the epitome of cynical studio cash grabs that it appears to be." Giving the movie a D+ (see a theme here?), Thompson does give some credit to the acting of Neil Patrick Harris and Hank Azaria. "Harris works hard to make the movie work," Thompson writes, before adding that Azaria's evil Gargamel is "a hoot."
Alonso Duralde of The Wrap is the most brutal. He calls "The Smurfs" "a film that does for children's entertainment what lead paint does for children's toys." He writes that the flick is "too moronic and cringe-worthy for adults," though kids may find Azrael the cat amusing.
Roger Moore from Tribune Newspapers is a tad more forgiving. Giving the movie two out of four stars, Moore writes that the Smurfs are "still sickeningly sweet and upbeat. But if you've got kids, it's not nearly as torturous to sit through as you might have feared." That's not faint praise considering the director of "The Smurfs" also helmed two "Scooby Doo" movies and "Beverly Hills Chihuahua."
But not everybody thinks the Smurfs deserve a swift extermination. Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle thinks the film's chief (human) star deserves a lot of credit. It's "a better movie than anyone could have possibly expected, thanks in large part to an honest effort by (Neil Patrick) Harris in a thankless role." Variety has a similar take. While critic Justin Chang by no means calls the movie a masterpiece, he does call out its "appreciable amount of heart."
If the film is a box office hit, you can probably expect more Smurfs. Apparently this is just the first film in a planned trilogy. Moviegoers, you have been warned.
Check out some clips from 'The Smurfs':

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