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THE SMURFS (U CAST: Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, Jayma Mays, voices of Katy Perry, Anton Yelchin, Jonathan Winters, Alan Cumming PLOT: In a live action/animation movie that's a cross between Alvin & The Chipmunks and Enchanted, The Smurfs - mythical blue people from Belgium who are 'three apples high' and cute and annoying in equal measure - live happy lives in the Enchanted Forest, until evil wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) wreaks havoc. He chases half a dozen of them through a portal and they all end up in modern-day, bustling New York.

The Smurfs include Papa Smurf (Winters), the only girl in the village in Smurfette (singer Perry, who actually says 'I kissed a Smurf and I liked it'), Clumsy (Yelchin) and a new invention - a Scottish kilt-wearing Smurf called Gutsy (Cumming).

They're befriended by humans Patrick (Harris) and his pregnant wife Grace (Mays) and chases and high jinks ensue.

GOOD POINTS: I rather liked Gargamel - Azaria always makes a good villain - but the best character is undoubtedly his clever cat, who has a remarkably large vocabulary. New York looks great and I chuckled a few times at some of the jokes but it's all rather juvenile.

BAD POINTS: After a promising start, it fails to maintain the momentum and I was very tired of it by the drawn-out end. Mays is sickeningly sweet, playing almost exactly the same role as Emma Pillsbury in Glee. And the film's schmaltzy 'once in a blue moon' message is hammered home very unsubtly.

SHOULD I SEE IT? Maybe. If you're a child you'll probably enjoy it, and for adults it's a lot less painful to watch than Horrid Henry.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Aug 14, 2011
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