The Smurfs 2 review: a smurfeit of Smurfs

The Smurfs 2 red light

MaryAnn’s quick take…
I am haunted by the crazed desperation in Jayma Mays’s eyes. She may have been blinking out a Morse-code SOS, but I can’t be sure…
I’m “biast” (pro): oh my god no
I’m “biast” (con): *sob*
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

And so we must come to terms with a veritable cacophony of influences at cinematic war with one another. The puissant Old Testament dirge of Woman as Evil without the civilizing influence of Man, as represented by Smurfette and her fear that she may revert to her natural state as a construct of Gargamel, whom we may in this instance read as Satan, despite the paternal ministrations of Papa Smurf, with his Yahweh-esque white beard. The astonishing celebration of the beneficence of privilege — so daring in our Occupy times! — in the depiction of a wealthy young New York family with the resources to fly to Paris on the spur of the moment and stay in a luxury hotel, all in the aid of a blue (read: “colored”) underclass. The startling structure of the storytelling, which all but puts the dialogue “This way to the next plot point” into the mouths of the actors, as if challenging the contextual necessity of a willing suspension of disbelief and highlighting the very artificiality of film itself. The demand– nay, the dare presented to us that we may well place our sympathies with Gargamel by creating profoundly irritating “heroes” in the Smurfs and then constructing a scheme for its “villain” that “could be the end of all Smurfkind!” should it succeed. Such subversiveness! To upend a natural cinematic order as it simultaneously makes us aware of that order is an audacious and even majestic–

No! I can’t do it. I just can’t! It’s not keeping me from being haunted by the crazed desperation in Jayma Mays’s eyes in her every scene. She may have been blinking out a Morse-code SOS, but I can’t be sure — curse my lack of military training! It’s not making me forget the dispirited resignation sloughing off Neil Patrick Harris. It can’t make me ignore my hopeless hope that whatever psychotropic drugs they have Hank Azaria on also deaden his pain.

It doesn’t make me stop worrying about how I cannot explain the presence of Brendan Gleeson here at all.


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