The Smurfs were originally created by the Belgian artist known as Peyo in 1958. Peyo was having dinner one evening and forgot the French word for salt, so he asked his dining partner to pass the “schtroumpf” instead. This made-up word apparently tickled him enough to create a comic book about little blue creatures called “Les Schtroumpfs,” which eventually translated to The Smurfs.
In this second American feature film, the evil Gargamel (Hank Azaria) uses Smurf essence to create a traveling magic show and has produced two more “children:” Vexy (Christina Ricci) and Hackus (J.B. Smoove), called Naughties. Needing more Smurf essence, Gargamel magically creates a portal to Smurf Village and sends his Naughties to kidnap Smurfette (Katy Perry).
Smurfette is tormented by her jealous, pale-faced siblings and is terrified of Gargamel’s conniving cat, Azrael, while Gargamel prepares to open his magic show at the Parisian Opera House. Meanwhile, Papa Smurf (the late Jonathan Winters) and his Bluebonnet buddies stop in New York City to pick up humans Patrick and Grace Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mayes), their young son Blue (Jacob Tremblay) and Patrick’s stepfather, Victor (Brendan Gleeson).
The Smurfs 2 gently explores the theme of nature versus nurture and repeats the sentiment that what matters isn’t where you come from but who you choose to be. Smurfette was created by the despicable Gargamel and begins to question her true nature, having a bit of a Smurf-dentity crisis which is predictably resolved by Papa Smurf’s benevolent affection.
Smurfette's crisis is mirrored in Patrick’s petulant relationship with his stepfather, Victor, who’s not nearly as annoying as Patrick makes him out to be. Some true fun is had when Gargamel casts a spell on Victor, turning him into a duck imprisoned in a French kitchen, where the chef is preparing to make duck a l’orange.
As Grace, Jayma Mays does a cute impression of Audrey Hepburn on the streets of Paris while Hank Azaria commits fully to Gargamel’s nastiness, making for a dynamic villain in true comic-book tradition.
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