Hollywood continues to mine our childhood memories for movie ideas by taking some of our favorite cartoons – Richie Rich, Josie and the Pussycats, and Fat Albert – and turning them into miserable big screen adaptations. Even Alvin and the Chipmunks and most recently Yogi Bear have been turned into 3D shells of them former selves.

Waiting in the wings to take their stab at the big 3D screen are The Smurfs – those lovable blue creatures who are three apples high, harvest smurfberries and sing in the woods all day. We got our first good look at the iconic creatures in the Smurfs teaser trailer as they rode through the streets of Manhattan clinging to a speeding taxi.

Today we get a better look at some of the more popular Smurf characters – Clumsy, Grouchy, Papa, Smurfette, Gutsy and Brainy – as well as a new poster for the upcoming live-action family film.

Here is the official synopsis for those unfamiliar with the story for The Smurfs movie:

When the evil wizard Gargamel chases the tiny blue Smurfs out of their village, they tumble from their magical world and into ours – in fact, smack dab in the middle of Central Park. Just three apples high and stuck in the Big Apple, the Smurfs must find a way to get back to their village before Gargamel tracks them down.

Raja Gosnell (Scooby Doo) directs from a J. David Stem script while Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, Sofia Vergara, and Hank Azaria will play opposite the voice talents of Jonathan Winters (Papa Smurf), Anton Yelchin (Clumsy Smurf), pop singer Katy Perry (Smurfette), Fred Armisen (Brainy Smurf), George Lopez (Grouchy Smurf) and Alan Cumming (Gutsy Smurf).

Because this is a movie based on some beloved magical characters created by Peyo, it’s obviously supposed to be a family-friendly children’s film – but how “family-friendly” will it actually be? The latest Smurfs poster certainly raises that question:


As a parent, there is a disturbing trend in marketing that I’m noticing and the problem is most likely not be with director Raja Gosnell – who has proven quite capable of producing a clean family film based on his two previous Scooby Doo entries.

There is a fair amount of profanity substituting happening in all of the marketing material for The Smurfs – “Smurf Happens” and Where the Smurf are we?” – I wonder if that comes from the mind of writer J. David Stem (Are We There Yet?, Daddy Day Camp) or is it some “cool” and “hip” marketing ploy dreamt up by a marketing guru at Columbia Pictures?

If this is the work of Stem, then I have to wonder how far does he take this “smurfing” of popular adult phrases? Should parents expect to hear their five year old repeat the phrase “Kiss my smurf!”, “Son of a Smurf” or heaven forbid, “Smurf You, Smurf-tard!”?

The Smurfs could turn out to be a late summer delight and my hope is the film doesn’t mimic the marketing campaign, because the last thing I want to hear is my eight-year-old daughter telling me to “Shove it up my Smurf”.

The Smurfs Tra-la-la’s into theaters August 3rd, 2011.

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