Aug. 13--PAULS VALLEY, Oklahoma -- One thought that comes to mind regarding my time opining various flicks in a town where two movies showing at any given time at the local theater is the maximum, there are quite a few titles for one reason or another I have seen when they would have been missed otherwise. Today's title might have been one such example I would have passed up had other major releases been showing at the same time, but that's not to say I haven't enjoyed the experience a majority of those times.
After a mostly average effort from the first chapter in this franchise, I decided if I did not catch a sequel I'd be perfectly fine, as it seemed the creators didn't think the story's original village was interesting enough to an entire adventure there for audiences. It looked as if the big city was again the route they were going with, but after once again felt it somewhat exceeded the quality I had suspected through lowered expectations. "The Smurfs 2" has a lot of moments where you really do feel like your hearing lines straight from a second grade mind, yet others where it actually felt kind of endearing and no less than something you can poke fun at if you go with a group of friends.
We pick up with Smurfette (Katy Perry) on what should be the most joyous day of her life, her birthday, dealing with instead nightmares about her creation at the hands of the evil wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria). Strangely enough, all the other smurfs from Vanity (John Oliver) to Grouchy (George Lopez) have not remembered her special day, despite the fact that they are pretending to surprise her instead.
Back in the human world that is supposed to be our own, Gargamel and his cat Azrael (Frank Welker) are huge stars in a magic show in Paris, which is instead a cover for a plot to get a secret formula from Smurfette so he can have unlimited magic. The smurfs arrive to console their female member only to see her being napped by Gargamel's naughties, which spurs those like Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters) to seek the help of their human friends like Patrick Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris) for the rescue. What follows is actually still enough left after that explanation in a very sappy way of showing how special one can be if they only try... with just enough corny jokes and smurfing smurf words any fan could desire.
In the end, it's pretty much safe enough for all ages and if you can set aside the fa ade that you're too grown up to laugh at a fart joke, you will survive a screening. I again tip my hat to Azaria for being just cartoony enough to capture the magical villain and actually find it an appropriate sendoff as this was Jonathan Winter's last vocal entry for the fatherly leader.
Like the first entry it'll pretty much be forgotten by awards season as it doesn't much deserve even a nomination for its own category, but worth a shot if you haven't seen the other family options. That said, I'm not quite ready to swear off the characters CGI versions forever, but won't be popping on my own TV screen for another viewing anytime soon. It's enough to garner a step up from the first film and thus "Smurfs 2" earns two and three fourths out of five mushrooms.
Movie viewing experience courtesy of the Royal Twin Theater of Pauls Valley.
(c)2013 the Pauls Valley Daily Democrat (Pauls Valley, Okla.)
Visit the Pauls Valley Daily Democrat (Pauls Valley, Okla.) at www.paulsvalleydailydemocrat.com
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