Aug. 1, 2011, 10:37 a.m. | By Mimi Verdonk | 12 years, 6 months ago

Little blue people rock the big screen

Blue people haven't been "in" more since 2009's "Avatar.” Great animation, snappy humor and a little Katy Perry make "The Smurfs” a summer hit for the whole family.

For those who grew up reading the Smurfs' cartoon in the Sunday comics, the movie will be familiar. Tiny, teal tinted creatures named for their personalities live in mushroom houses in a fantasy world. That is until an evil wizard, the Smurfs' arch-nemisis Gargamel (Hank Azaria) breaks into the world and sends the Smurfs into a vortex, landing them in New York City. There, six smurfs led by Papa (voiced by Jonathan Winters) must find their way back into the vortex and escape the evil wizard who has followed them, all while avoiding being trampled in a hectic, unknown city.

Luckily, the creatures find their way into the home and hearts of Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and Grace (Jayma Mays) Winslow, a young married couple who are expecting their first child. With the help of the Winslows, each Smurf will learn the lesson that a personality trait, or in this case a name, doesn't necessarily define them. Even a Clumsy Smurf (Anton Yelchin) can be a hero.

The film uses both live action and animated characters to stitch together the plot, but the voicing is just as well executed as the acting. Tons of mature jokes are thrown into this kid's movie, disguising profanity with the words "smurf." In fact "smurf” replaces a lot of vocabulary, from "smurf-tastic” to "smurf-ing” and Smurfette's (voiced by Katy Perry) catchphrase "what the smurf!” The movie uses more mature comedians like Harris, as well as George Lopez and Fred Armisen, who voice Grouchy and Brainy respectively, to tell jokes both children and parents will enjoy.

Though many will write the film off as another animated film meant for the 10-and-under crowd, "Smurfs” appeals to a wider audience. The plot is simple enough to keep viewers informed, yet has enough twists to keep you waiting to see what's next. This big name cast keeps the movie's dialogue compelling, despite a few brief lulls in plot. If you're looking for a little light-hearted entertainment, "The Smurfs” is "smurf-xactly” right.

"The Smurfs” (100 minutes) is rated PG for mild rude humor and action. Now playing in theaters everywhere, with 3D in select theaters.

Tags: blue people katy perry smurfs

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