Written by Monkey Riley July 28, 2011
No "Blue" Humor
First, it must be said that Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays make the world's most adorable couple. While fate has it they'll never couple up in real life, they could easily be the next Hanks-Ryan. In THE SMURFS, Harris and Mays play a married couple expecting their first child. When Clumsy Smurf falls into "Patrick's" box at a work event, the Smurfs come into the couple's life. The Smurfs become a metaphor for how Patrick is not prepared to add a baby into the mix of his stressful work life. The message of the story -- to appreciate fleeting special moments -- is really directed toward the parents, a growing trend in children's films.
The storyline for kids is about the Smurfs trying to escape Gargamel, this time in New York City. With the Smurfs all named after their primary characteristic (Brainy, Clumsy, Grumpy, etc.), kids learn they can always choose who they are beyond how others label them. The messaging for kids isn't too strong, though, it's mainly just silly fun.
The big question for parents may be: can I stomach seeing this film? I found the Smurfs annoying when I was a kid, but the film is more palatable than the TV show (thank you live-action storyline!). Plus, Hank Azaria is hilarious as Gargamel. The use of the word "smurf" as an adjective and verb is frequent and is sometimes used to replace a curse word ("son of a smurf!"). One unsettling thing that may make some kids uncomfortable is that the cat is continually physically mistreated for comic purposes. Azrael is a CGI cat but it still may bother some children to see an animal depicted that way, even if he's a villain.
Judging from my screening, the story wasn't interesting to the preK crowd, a 4-year old near me asked his mother if he could go home about 2/3 into the film. While THE SMURFS seems like it's a movie for very young children, I don't recommend for kids under 5.