By far the most entertaining movie I've seen this year, Smurfs 2 has it all: gorgeously-lensed Parisian locales, groovy music, high adventure, magic wands, freaky spells, an intrepid mallard, numerous dubious puns -- plus, of course, our eponymous little blue friends, three apples tall. It's fast, funny and full-on zany.
The gist is that evil wizard Gargamel (an astoundingly demented Hank Azaria) kidnaps the winsome Smurfette (voiced by Katy Perry) from bucolic, upscale-fungal Smurf Village, and he Smurfs -- pardon me -- he spirits her away to Paris, where he and his new creations called the "Naughties" (voiced by Christina Ricci and J.B. Smoove) hatch a diabolical plot to -- what else? -- capture that vital but elusive Smurf essence.
Mayhem prevails, yet as venerable Papa Smurf (voiced by the late, great Jonathan Winters in his final role) mounts a rescue mission with the rather rescue-challenged Vanity Smurf (John Oliver), Clumsy Smurf (Anton Yelchin) and Grouchy (turning "Positive") Smurf (George Lopez), real-world themes emerge: of friendship and family (Brendan Gleeson brings welcome gravitas as a well-intended stepfather), of the perils of unchecked celebrity (see: Gargamel), and of how to stick out big-time as a tourist in France.
Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays return (with a young son called "Blue") as the Smurfs' kindly human friends, and I Smurfed with them and Mr. Azaria -- plus Smurfette, Vexy, Vanity Smurf and the socially-challenged Hackus -- about their Smurfy success. Video below.
Call me "Kibitzes With Smurfs"
Getting Smurfy with Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays
Hank Azaria: Gargamel Opens Up
Smurfs 2 is now Smurfing.