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