The Smurfs

Did you know that Smurfs are three apples high? I didn't, but I do now...

This clever mashup of cartoons, live action and animatronics makes an entertaining 86 minutes of PG action.

We start in a colorful cartoon village populated by blue Smurfs, but six of them are quickly thrown into New York City's Central Park by an evil wizard. Like classic stories from The Odyssey to The Wizard of Oz, our story is all about our six intrepid travelers trying to get back home.

Here is the cast:
  • Hank Azaria (movies, TV, Broadway) is the evil wizard. This multi-talented guy finally gets a showcase! You'll love the way this character runs!
  • Neil Patrick Harris ("Beastly") is an advertising executive with a pregnant wife; he is trying to develop a new ad campaign for a demanding client. Harris is one of our most charismatic actors working: he is always convincing and likable.
  • Sofia Vergara ("Modern Family") is that demanding client. Will someone get the courage to tell actors that their teeth are too white?
  • Jayma Mays ("Glee") is the pregnant wife who discovers a Smurf in her toilet.
  • Tim Gunn ("Project Runway") is part of the client's entourage; his appearance was greeted by a stir of affection from the adults in our screening audience.
  • The wizard's orange tabby isn't listed in the cast so I have to assume it is totally animatronic. If so, it is scary but brilliant!
The voices of the Smurfs were provided by a "name" cast, but their diction and delivery left a lot to be desired, so I won't go into that here.

Our little gang can only get back home once in a blue moon, so of course that rare event is the crux of the story. The children in the audience were well behaved, so I have to assume they followed the story. There was enough excitement to keep them entertained, e.g., the little Smurfs crossing a busy street, being chased by that scary cat, being chased by a dog, being chased by the wizard through an FAO Schwarz toy store, and riding in a subway.

I came away impressed by both Azaria and Harris, plus I always like a happy ending.

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Here is a link to a preview:
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