Get yourself into a Smurfy frame of mind, hum a few notes of The Smurf Song and try to remember your cartoon-watching primary school years. Cross your fingers that actors Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, Jayma Mays and Brendan Gleeson will find something funny to do.
Never mind. Filled with Smurf wholesomeness, Smurf puns and positive Smurf messages about never giving up "on family," The Smurfs 2 still sucks Smurfberries.
Gargamel, the Smurf hater, is now a big-shot magician, filling venues around the world. But the wizard (Azaria, who never lets us see the boredom) is running out of Smurf Essence for his shows. As he preps for his Paris Opera House debut, he conjures up a couple of Naughties (voiced by Christina Ricci and J.B. Smoove), who Smurf-nap Smurfette (Katy Perry) from Smurf Village. She knows Papa Smurf's magic formula; with a little enhanced interrogation by Gargamel and his digital cat, Azrael (the movie's best effect), it'll be "Smurf-ageddon."
"Oh, the Smurf-anity!"
Unless Papa (voiced by Jonathan Winters before his death) and his team of Grouch (George Lopez), Clumsy (Anton Yelchin) and Vanity (John Oliver) can stop them, with the help of their human friends, Patrick (Harris), Grace (Mays) and Patrick's clumsy, pushy stepdad (Gleeson).
There are five credited writers in this retread, and the best line sounds as if it was improvised by Lopez, as Grouchy Smurf: "Every time a Smurf toots, somebody smiles."
The puns are more feeble ("I was Meryl Smurfing Streep in there!"), the animation passable, the special effects quite good and the 3-D utterly pointless. But if your tiny-tyke target audience has to see something, at least it's harmless.
If Harris isn't getting better offers in between sitcom seasons and awards shows, and he has to perform blue material to get by, he could do worse.
'The Smurfs 2'
PG for some rude humor and action. Sony Pictures Animation. 1:35. 2D: Frankfort, Winchester; drive-ins: Harrodsburg, Paris, Winchester. 2D and 3D: Fayette Mall, Georgetown, Hamburg, Movie Tavern, Nicholasville, Richmond, Woodhill.