We meet no shortage of smurfholes in life who are eager to tell us like it is. But more valuable to us is often the person who tells us like it could be.
While you might find more scholarly dreamers in Ralph Waldo Emerson or John Lennon, there’s no cuter optimist than Papa Smurf.
Somewhere within an hour and 43 minutes, Papa Smurf reminded us that sometimes we have to trust the people we love more than our own instincts—even if those instincts have never been wrong.
Papa Smurf and I also share a love of blue moons, though he prefers the Bavarian variety to lead him home and I opt for the Belgian ale while winding down at home. As a single dad of hoards of little people, I’d think he’d want the ale too. But perhaps the Hanna-Barbera character doesn’t have any room for libations among all that love throughout his village of tiny mushrooms.
When he and five of his “three apples high” Smurfs get chased into the Big Apple by the evil wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria), it’s love that leads them home. They get a lot of help from their friends Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and Grace (Jayma Mays) Winslow, who are expectant parents living in what movies always depict as the consummate New York lifestyle.
Peppered in are supporting roles from Tim Gunn and Sofia Vergara, who add a little fabulous into all the cute. Vergara plays a demanding boss to Harris’ marketing executive at a cosmetics firm in a storyline that’s all too predictable.
But that’s OK. I wasn’t expecting Citizen Smurf.
I just wanted to see the silver screen version of one of my Saturday morning favorites. My 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son were surprised to learn, upon asking to see the movie, that I saw the cartoon version when I was their age.
I’d fail if I dared draw comparisons or detailed differences between the Smurfs of my childhood and the latest Hollywood depiction. And, really, I don’t see the point. I never understand why critics analyze kids’ movies as though they’re writing a thesis on “Magnolia.”
I’m not sure how many stars the movie has received, but I know it got a lot of laughs at a recent showing at Destinita’s Bridgeville location. The audience seemed to most appreciate when Smurfette, whose voice actress was Katy Perry, said, “I kissed a Smurf and I liked it.”
A lot of laughs were also earned anytime Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Grouchy, Brainy, Clumsy and Gutsy replaced an explicative—or any other word—with some variation of Smurf. And I appreciate any noun that moonlights as a verb, adverb and adjective.
It didn’t matter to me that the dialogue wasn’t written by the likes of Aaron Sorkin; I just needed a distraction from the debt ceiling. And I found that distraction in a theater seat in front of a movie that didn’t really make me think, but certainly made me laugh and feel joy.
I imagine it was a lot like I felt when I watched those little blue Smurfs some 25 or 30 years ago. I fell in love all over again, and any movie that makes me do that is smurfin’ awesome.
The film is playing at the Carmike Galleria 6 at 1:10 p.m., 3:45 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.; the Destinta Theatres—Chartiers Valley 20 at 11 a.m., 12:20 p.m., 1:20 p.m., 2:45 p.m., 3:45 p.m., 5:10 p.m., 6:10 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 9:55 p.m.; and at Carmike 10—Pittsburgh (South Hills Village) at 12:50 p.m., 3:40 p.m., 6:35 p.m., 9:15 p.m.