You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Movies

  • Some directors just keep on rolling
    Visiting a retired Frank Capra at his Sierra Nevada hideaway, Clint Eastwood was baffled.“I always thought: ‘He could be making a film right now. He’s as lucid as could be. Here̵ ...
  • Don't waste brain power thinking on plot
    'Lucy'So let's start with the enticing premise of Luc Besson's “Lucy,” starring Scarlett Johansson: Human beings use only 10 percent of their brain capacity. Imagin ...
  • Levine draws from life in indie ‘Begin Again’
    Adam Levine knows pop stars-turned-actors are greeted suspiciously. And he’s hesitant to make any grandiose declarations about suddenly transforming into an actor. But he also can’t help himself.
Advertisement
In theaters
( PG for some rude humor and action ; 1:45)
Carmike Dupont: In 2-D: 1:20, 4, 6:40 and 9:15 p.m. today and Thursday; in 3-D: 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. today and Thursday
Coldwater Crossing: In 2-D: 1:20, 3:50, 4:55, 6:45 and 9:30 p.m. today and Thursday; in 3-D: 11:20 a.m., 2:15, 7:45 and 10:15 p.m. today and Thursday
Northwood Cinema Grill: 1:15, 4 and 7:15 p.m. today and Thursday
Sony Pictures
The little blue heroes of “The Smurfs 2,” which opens today, must rescue Smurfette.

Movie Review: Little more than just fine

‘The Smurfs 2’

LOS ANGELES – Time flies when you’re not wondering about the welfare of the Smurfs, those diminutive, animated blue-skinned forest-dwellers. Turns out they’ve been just fine since their 2011 big-screen outing, but there’s trouble brewing in their new adventure-comedy that will require their curious blend of wide-eyed optimism and goofy enthusiasm to peacefully resolve.

A sequel largely unwarranted other than for box office and promotional purposes, the unimaginatively titled “The Smurfs 2” should have little trouble scaling stratospheric heights similar to its predecessor with undiscriminating young audiences and their chaperones, weary from near-unrelenting summertime caregiving.

The occasion of Smurfette’s (Katy Perry) birthday presents the opportunity for her to recall her conflicted origins – rather than a “true-blue” Smurf, she was actually created by the hapless, wannabe evil sorcerer Gargamel (Hank Azaria), who now intends to kidnap her from her enchanted-forest home to obtain the formula for the magical Smurf essence that Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters) used to originally bestow her with blue-skinned bliss. Once he has the secret, Gargamel plans to power up a host of Naughties, Smurf-sized creatures he’s created, to help him take over the world.

So he dispatches his Naughty daughter Vexy (Christina Ricci) to drag Smurfette through a magic portal and into the real world where he can more effectively manipulate her inherent identity issues.

Papa Smurf and his mismatched extraction team consisting of Grouchy (George Lopez), Clumsy (Anton Yelchin) and Vanity (John Oliver) will have to portal to the live-action world to reunite in Paris with the sympathetic young family of Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and Grace (Jayma Mays) Winslow, their live-action counterparts from the original movie, if they’re to have any chance of rescuing Smurfette.

Returning the movie to the European locale of the Belgian Smurfs comic-strip originator Pierre Culliford adds some visual interest, with Paris as the backdrop for the Smurfs’ rescue mission, but beyond the classic cityscapes, there’s little innovative in this formulaic follow-up.

In his final film role, Jonathan Winters reprises the beneficent Papa Smurf with the requisite twinkle in his voice but takes a back seat to Perry’s bewildered, wounded and ultimately outraged Smurfette.

Harris and Mays, as the parents of a young boy appropriately named Blue (Jacob Tremblay), acquit themselves good-naturedly enough, although it’s Brendan Gleeson as Patrick’s well-intentioned but misunderstood stepfather, Victor Doyle, who really shines in an all-out turn that gleefully showcases his considerable comic gifts. Azaria is equally antic as the incompetent wizard beset by the uneven, if unrelenting, team of Smurf rescuers featuring Lopez, Yelchin and Oliver.

Advertisement