'The Smurfs 2' Trailer: Smurf Puns, NPH and Cartoon Mayhem

A full-length trailer for The Smurfs 2 has released online, for those parents who have young kids that enjoyed the previous live-action/CGI movie - featuring everyone's favorite awards show host Neal Patrick Harris - or, rather, anyone in the mood for jokes about Smurf butts and double entendres involving the word "Smurf."

Smurfs 2 also brings back Hank Azaria to play the follically-challenged evil wizard Gargamel, who hatches a new scheme to capture and harness the magical "Smurf-essence" (minds out of the gutter). The plan involves creating a race of mischief-making Smurf-like creatures (called Naughties), and kidnapping Smurfette (voiced by Katy Perry), in order to turn her evil so that she will perform the necessary spell to transform the Naughties into real Smurfs.

Smurfs director Raja Gosnell came back for the second movie, which - similar to the first - includes the same celebrity voice cast (Anton Yelchin, John Oliver, George Lopez) and new guest appearances, like Christina Ricci voicing the female "Naughty" Vexy. Still, I'm not sure why Brendan Gleeson decided to make this his token Hollywood kids' movie. Too bad Aardman Animation didn't put together a sequel to The Pirates! Band of Misfits in time to stop him (kidding... not really).

Honestly, the shocking thing isn't that Smurfs 2 exists - after the 2011 live-action movie grossed $564 million worldwide (not kidding) - it's that the sequel's plot and script represents the handiwork of five different writers. That includes the four people who co-wrote the previous installment (David Ronn, Jay Scherick, J. David Stem and David N. Weiss), in addition to Kary Kirkpatrick, who previously served as a co-writer on respectable family-audience fare like Chicken Run and Charlotte's Web.

The sequel appears to focus more on the Smurfs than NPH's domestic issues - unlike the first movie - which makes this film easier to recommend to parents who want "Uncle Movie Theater" to babysit the kids for a couple hours. Mild praise, at best, but at least the juice box crowd will enjoy themselves, even as we watch our childhood nostalgia get milked for every penny that it's worth.


The Smurfs 2 opens in 2D and 3D U.S. theaters on July 31st, 2013.

Source: Sony Pictures

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