I just watched _The Smurfs_. As an adult who grew up with the cartoon, I enjoyed it. The plot was very good, while it played on several of the cliches of the “preternatural being(s) out of their element disrupt the lives of contemporary city folk” genre (i.e., _Alvin and the Chipmunks_, _Elf_), it avoided some of the predictability. There were a few plot threads left hanging. For the most part, the acting was good (more on that later), and for the most part, I found it very funny. The problem is: there was *way* too much potty humor. It didn’t come quite to the level of crudity in the Michael Bay _Transformers_ movies, but it came close in that there was some kind of “potty humor” or body part reference, such as:
Gargamel, after arriving in New York, seeks out a lair and walks into a porta potty, saying, “It even has its own cauldron.” Then he and Azrael run out in disgust at the smell.
“Gutsy” Smurf, a Scottish-stereotype character created for the movie (and voiced by Alan Cumming sounding a lot like Mike Myers in _Shrek_), is constantly making comments about his kilt and what’s under it.
Even Papa Smurf at one point says, “Is a Smurf’s butt blue?”
I hate crude humor, but I can let a joke or two pass. This, however, went over the top. It’s definitely on the “no way” list as far as the kids are concerned.
That said, if they didn’t have all that garbage in it, it was an enjoyable movie and could have been very wholesome. I especially liked a little pro-life touch: the wife, Grace (Jayma Mays of _Heroes_ and _Paul Blart: Mall Cop_) is pregnant. Her husband Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris, who, it struck me, would have made a much better Darrin Stephens than Will Ferrell) is, as the genre demands, is in the middle of a huge project for his domineering boss (who at one point begins conspiring with Gargamel, but that plot point is inexplicably dropped) and facing either a promotion or being fired depending upon the success of his projects. At one point, when Clumsy Smurf apparently costs Patrick his job (it all works out, of course), Patrick gets mad and says he never wanted a bunch of little people around the house, at which his pregnant wife is aghast. Later, as he sits by himself and reflects, he pulls out a card she gave him, saying “Baby’s first picture,” with a sonogram photo inside.
Hank Azaria (albeit with a lot of make-up) really looks the part of Gargamel, but I really couldn’t get used to the voice he used. The voice he used was a cross between Moe Szyslak and Kahmunrah, and his mannerisms reminded me of the latter. Similarly, Jonathan Winters (whom I thought had died a long time ago) just didn’t work for me as Papa Smurf. Both characters had such distinctive voices (Don Messick having played Papa Smurf and the lesser-known Paul Winchell having played Gargamel), it was distracting to hear them portrayed so differently.
Those details aside, though, I really found it enjoyable, but I wish the humor was more appropriate for children (or anyone, for that matter), and that Hollywood people didn’t feel the need to make everything trashy.