Francesca Rudkin

Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Movie review: Smurfs 2 3D

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The smurfalicous little blue guys and girl are back in a story that is similar to their 2011 adventure, although this time based in Paris rather than New York.

The format and formula is once again based around Hank Azaria's nasty wizard Gargamel, back on a Smurf-napping mission. The story is brought to life through a mix of animation (Smurfs) and live action footage (everything else), along with plenty of slapstick gags, cheesy lines, terrible puns and heavy repetition of the word "Smurf".

On her birthday, Smurfette (Perry) is kidnapped by the Naughties - Gargamel's grey Smurf henchmen - and taken through a magic portal to Paris where Gargamel is now a famous magician.

Gargamel wants Smurfette to tell him the magic spell so he can turn his Naughties into real blue Smurfs. He then plans to harvest their Smurf-essence and with its power take over the world. When none of the Smurfs come to rescue her, she suffers an identity crisis and feels a little blue - sorry, couldn't resist.

Little of the action takes place in Smurf village - which is a shame; it's easier to tolerate the cutesy Smurf talk and LaLa song when they're in their natural habitat. It also means a lot of time is spent focused on human dramas such as Patrick's troubled relationship with his stepfather Victor, played by Brendan Gleeson. Although it's amusing when Gargamel turns Victor into a duck, such sub-plots are clearly just filling time.

Smurfs 2 is aimed at young kids, most likely those under 8, who think it's hilarious when Gargamel falls from buildings while smacking his Smurfberries on gargoyles.

Azaria has a pretty tough gig, playing against animated characters and a cat, but he throws himself into it and, as far as the kids are concerned, he's the funniest guy in the film.

Smurfs 2 isn't quite so good at appealing to adults, but it's harmless fun for the littlies.

Stars: 2.5/5
Cast: Katy Perry, Brendan Gleeson, Christina Ricci
Director: Raja Gosnell
Running Time: 105 mins
Rating: G
Verdict: Harmless, forgettable slapstick fun for youngsters

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