Introducing the 'Should I See The Smurfs?' Flow-Chart Movie Review

Movieline Score: 7

The bartender at my favorite local saloon knows what I do for a living, and so on one of my recent excursions to his own workplace, he asked, "Hey, seen The Smurfs yet?" I replied affirmatively. "And? Should I go?" Well, I told him, it depends.

The ensuing exchange revealed a certain truth about The Smurfs, director Raja Gosnell's live-action/CGI adaptation of the beloved (or loathed -- again, it depends whom you ask) cartoon and comics: Like many adaptations, reboots, remakes and other youth-nostalgia dredgings, this is a film that transcends "good" or "bad," "like" or "don't like." Sure, it features a grandly showy and funny performance from Hank Azaria as the depraved wizard Gargamel, who follows the blue, three-apples-high title creatures through a water portal into modern-day Manhattan. Yes, Gargamel's interaction with his treacherous cat Azrael makes for some of the more amusing animation of the summer. And yes, the film also features Neil Patrick Harris in a cringe-inducing Guitar Hero sequence (mashing up the grating Smurfs theme song with -- gulp -- Aerosmith's "Walk This Way") and amounts at times to a vastly overreaching tribute to the legacy of the Smurfs' relatively little-known Belgian creator Peyo. Not to sell the guy short, either, but come on: Papa Smurf discovering a rare, mystical book about Peyo in SoHo is like Captain Jack Sparrow happening on a Walt Disney hagiography in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Anyone in the audience too young to know better wouldn't care.

Ultimately, though, as I played Q&A with the bartender, we realized that what will compel anyone to watch or avoid The Smurfs comes down to objective measurements of taste. For example: Were you a fan of the original cartoon? Do you mind if the Smurfs leave Smurf Village? Can you deal with ungodly, almost fetishistic volumes of product placement? Thus the "Should I See The Smurfs?" Flow-Chart Review, which answers these questions and more in a service-oriented attempt to determine whether this film is really right for you. Share it with your friends, family, colleagues and/or the bartender in your life -- anyone struggling to make a decision about how and where to spend their hard-smurfed money at the movies.

[Click for full-size image]



  • Dimo says:

    Seriously, could you do this chart for every movie from now on?

  • Hey, Dimo, thanks! It depends on the film, really. In any case, this is not the last flow-chart movie review you will see on Movieline.

  • The WInchester says:

    You left out a crucial component: Are you high?

  • Ha! I thought that went without saying. _See it_.

  • The WInchester says:

    Yeah, that's what I thought about Zookeeper. And we all know how that one turned out.
    Regardless, it looks like I know where I'll be at midnight tonight!

  • Barbara says:

    I smurfing smurfed the Smurfs, but my son smurfed it so I smurf I wanna smurf it. I smurf Patrick and Hank so I smurf I will smurf it.

  • SD says:

    I went through 5 different paths trying slightly less judgmental choices and they all ended in Skip It.
    I think I shall take this as a sign.
    Mr V - your flow chart is a work of genius and I look forward to seeing more of them!

  • CiscoMan says:

    This chart is the evolutionary thumbs up/down. And since I'm not Armond White, I say, "Bravo!"

  • Trace says:

    As a supporter of the idea that film criticism should be more than a consumer's guide, I'm a little bemused by this review and disturbed at the trends it may set.

  • SD says:

    The way I view any review is that it is the personal view of the reviewer and so it is up to you, as the reader, to decide whether your likes and dislikes are in tune with the reviewer or not.
    For example on this site I personal find I agree with Michelle Orange's reviews more than I do those of Stephanie Zacharek and so I trust one more than another. That does not make Stephanie's reviews any less valid.
    This flow chart requires you to subscribe heavily to Mr Vanairsdale's point of view. However, for me, I find that my likes are nicely aligned with his and so this flowchart very works for me.
    I guess what I am ultimately trying to say is that is a flow chart any different to a letter grade or a mark out of 10?

  • Fair enough, but misplaced. I sat through this thing, and to the extent I enjoyed it, trust me: No film this week is more deserving of a consumer-guide response than _The Smurfs_.

  • Skippy says:

    I kept trying to get to the "can you stand 117 conjugations of the word 'smurf'" because that would be a big "yes!!" for me, but alas, kept on getting kicked to no on every other path. Sigh. I loved the chart, though. It kept me from doing productive things.

  • BlueFox94 says:

    "CARS 2" is so much better than this commercially-ridden, pop culture trash

  • Teneka Ray says:

    I was a huge fan of smurf as a kid. Now I'm an adult an my son is just as passionate about the smurfs as I am. There was such a positive message to teach children in this movie. As well as adults. So many man are going through the same thing NPH was afraid to become a dad and Paw Paw smurf gave him great advice. I love the smurf can't was for the toys and smurfs to have a home in a california theme park such as Disneyland,

  • dave says:

    Thats not saying much because Cars 2 was a lifeless piece of garbage, too. Cars, the original, was very underrated. But 2 was a disaster.

  • Mike Oxhuge says:

    Seriously?! This movie was TERRIBLE!!! How can you sit there and give it a 7?!

  • M says:

    'This is a film that transcends “good” or “bad,” “like” or “don’t like.”'
    What sort of hack writes this stuff?

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