The cat Azrael—a CGI wonder—is cursed with one of the most irritating voices in moviedom thanks to Frank Welker. But in this loud, lame excuse for a movie he's just one of the annoying voices you’ll be subjected to for almost two hours. The Smurfs' habit of inserting their name into every sentence quickly wears thin, too. Make your popcorn last; with any luck the crunching will drown out the worst of it. For what it's worth, the animation is rather gorgeous, especially in 3D. If you must take a child to see The Smurfs 2 (very young ones may enjoy it, despite its flaws), I recommend ear buds so you can admire Paris without the grating sounds of Smurfs.

The worst part? We’ll all have that annoying la-la song stuck in our heads again.

CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers):

  • Drugs/Alcohol: None unless you count Smurfessence fed to the Naughties, which appears to be more medicinal than anything.
  • Language/Profanity: One "dear God" and a host of "smurf" inserted in place of actual profanity.
  • Sex/Nudity: A man turned into a duck morphs back into human form sans clothing and falls into a laundry cart. We see some of his chest. Smurfette acts in a sultry way, but it's fairly innocent.
  • Violent/Frightening/Intense: A lot of cartoon violence: falling (and bouncing) from humans, animals, and Smurfs. Slapping, hitting, the usual; the small children at the showing I attended did not seem frightened. Gargamel uses his wand to force people to bow down and worship him in a creepy way.
  • Spiritual Themes: Gargamel is the devil, as it were: he takes a good creation (Smurfkind) and distorts it (the Naughties) in order to conquer the world and be worshipped as a god. Smurfette is mentioned as having what sounds like a salvation experience but wonders if her faith is misplaced. She has to choose between betraying her "faith" and saving someone's life, a tricky situation that might lead to good "what would you do" conversations. Another potential teachable moment could be Papa Smurf’s assurance that "It doesn't matter where you came from. What matters is who you choose to be."

Publication date: August 1, 2013