Parents, do yourselves a favor and don’t tell kids about ‘Smurfs 2’

Time flies when you’re not wondering about the welfare of the Smurfs, those diminutive, animated blue-skinned forest-dwellers.

Turns out they’ve been just fine since their 2011 big-screen outing, but there’s trouble brewing in their new adventure-comedy that will require their curious blend of wide-eyed optimism and goofy enthusiasm to peacefully resolve.

A sequel largely unwarranted other than for box office and promotional purposes, the unimaginatively titled “The Smurfs 2” should have little trouble scaling stratospheric heights similar to its predecessor with undiscriminating young audiences and their chaperones, weary from near-unrelenting summertime caregiving.

The occasion of Smurfette’s (Katy Perry) birthday presents the opportunity for her to recall her conflicted origins — rather than a “true-blue” Smurf, she was actually created by the hapless, wannabe evil sorcerer Gargamel (Hank Azaria), who now intends to kidnap her from her enchanted-forest home to obtain the formula for the magical Smurf essence that Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters) used to originally bestow her with blue-skinned bliss.

Once he has the secret, Gargamel plans to power up a host of Naughties, Smurf-sized creatures he’s created, to help him take over the world.

So he dispatches his Naughty daughter Vexy (Christina Ricci) to drag Smurfette through a magic portal and into the real world where he can more effectively manipulate her inherent identity issues.

Papa Smurf and his mismatched extraction team consisting of Grouchy (George Lopez), Clumsy (Anton Yelchin) and Vanity (John Oliver) will have to portal to the live-action world to reunite in Paris with the sympathetic young family of Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and Grace (Jayma Mays) Winslow, their live-action counterparts from the original movie, if they’re to have any chance of rescuing Smurfette.

Returning the movie to the European locale of the Belgian Smurfs comic-strip originator Pierre Culliford adds some visual interest, with Paris as the backdrop for the Smurfs’ rescue mission, but beyond the classic cityscapes, there’s little innovative in this formulaic follow-up.

The Smurfs director Raja Gosnell (“Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” “Scooby Doo”) has built his career with cute-critter pics and other family fare, and his middlebrow track record remains unblemished with the Smurfs’ big-screen return.

Beyond a few chuckle-worthy one-liners and some amusing visual comedy, there’s not much to engage adults, although the wee ones should be distracted enough.

“The Smurfs 2” (1 star)

An evil sorcerer wants to take over the world and the Smurfs are in danger. That’s it. Not much for adults but the little kids will love it. Jonathan Winter’s last role, as the voice of Papa Smurf.

Rated: PG for content.

Showing: Alderwood 7, Everett Stadium, Galaxy Monroe, Marysville, Stanwood, Meridian, Varsity, Woodinville, Blue Fox, Cascade Mall.

More in Life

How did 300 feathers get stuck in that old utility pole?

Artful adornment in Everett is the creation of a retired Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer.

‘Found’: Author and climber a 20-year veteran of mountain rescue

In her second book, Bree Loewen shares her experiences of volunteering with Seattle Mountain Rescue.

Herb Alpert aims to uplift the world in two recent albums

The Tijuana Brass bandleader releases a Christmas record and an album of covers.

Slick new V6 engine, safety updates boost Nissan Pathfinder

The SUV’s extensive redesign boosts towing capacity and adds driver assistance technology.

Prioritizing permanence and putting down roots

Adapted from a recent online discussion. Dear Carolyn: I’m at a loss… Continue reading

Foo Fighters bounce back with new album ‘Concrete and Gold’

Foo Fighters, “Concrete and Gold”: Can you hate the Foo Fighters? Not… Continue reading

Taking a service dog on the trail

Tenley Lozano hikes with her service dog, Elu. They have section-hiked the… Continue reading

‘Fixer Upper’ couple say they’re ending popular HGTV show

Chip and Joanna Gaines says season beginning in November will be the last one.

How to shop in the street markets of France

It’s the best way to connect with the nation’s farmers and artisans.

Most Read