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Tip of the Week

A Sloppy Sequel in 'Smurfs 2'

Julie Samrick
Kid Focused

Why are Smurfs blue?  And why is Smurfette the lone girl in a community of males? These questions are at the heart of the sequel to the hit 2011 Smurfs movie. Thinking he has a chance to rule the world, evil wizard Gargamel kidnaps Smurfette to extract her blue essence.  But might Smurfette willingly go to the dark side once she believes her Smurf family doesn't appreciate her?

This sequel relies on bad jokes and slapstick Three Stooges violence. Just this week, it was big news that a young girl died from peanut allergies in my community so it wasn't funny when there was an early joke about this in the film, setting the tone for more awkward jokes.

Besides Gargamel's hilarious tabby cat sidekick and a fun, music-filled ending, even my kids said, "It wasn't funny. The first Smurfs was better," afterwards.

Most children are intrigued to see other kids act naughty, so I was hoping the main storyline with Smurfette would be explored more, but there just isn't enough emphasis on this.  Instead, most of the plot centers on the Smurfs trying to find her.

There are so many different characters and one-liners squeezed into Smurfs 2 that it's hard to keep the different Smurf characters straight. And too much time is allotted to their human ally, Neil Patrick Harris, and his strained relationship with his stepfather.  It's not clear until the end that this is supposed to parallel Papa Smurf's relationship with Smurfette. 

Smurfs 2 is PG because it is fast-paced and there is some mild violence. The portal travel from Smurf village to New York City is intense. And besides all the head-clobbering humor, Gargamel's spells could be scary to kids under 7.

There are some positive messages for kids in Smurfs 2, such as It doesn't matter where you come from, but who you choose to be, and Don't make bad choices even if you're feeling sad - you'll only be hurting yourself.

The original Smurfs movie had a fresh, fun plot that stayed true to the 1980s cartoon series. The sequel has lost the Smurfs' essence while being just too noisy for young kids to follow.  I say stay home from this one, wait for it to come out on video, and rent the original Smurfs movie instead. It's just not worth the steep cost of admission to the theater, but it wouldn't hurt to go either.

Kid Focused Grades for Smurfs 2:
Compelling story line - D

Strong message - C+

Leading character is a role model - C- (It's hard to tell who really is the main character.)
Sexual or adult content - A (Neil Patrick Harris and his wife kiss and growl at each other in one scene.)
Language and Violence - C (The language is OK - the word "moron" is used at least once. There isn't as much substitution for the word "Smurf" as in the first movie for questionable words, like "Smurf happens," etc. There are plenty of hits between the eyes and crotch smashes for laughs, however.)
Suited for the whole family - B- 
Overall Kid Focused Grade for Smurfs 2: C   
Running Time: 1 hour 45 minutes    

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Julie Samrick is a stay-at-home mom of four young kids and the founder of Kid Focused, a site devoted to children and family issues.  Subscribe to the free Kid Focused newsletter delivered weekly to your inbox.  If you enjoyed this post, "Like" us on Facebook for updates on more posts like it.  Permission granted for use on

Tags: 2013 Movies, Family, Gargamel, Movie Review, Neil Patrick Harris, Papa Smurf, Parenting, Relatives, Role model, Smurfette, Smurfs, Smurfs 2, Stay-at-Home Mom, Values
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