* (out of four)
In 2011's horrendous "The Smurfs" and the new "The Smurfs 2," the term "smurf" frequently is substituted for assumed profanity in phrases like "Holy smurf!" and "Son of a smurf." So they brought this rant on themselves:
Smurf you, Smurfs. You smurfing smurfers deserve to be shot out of a smurfing cannon, anything to get you out of movie theaters and toy stores and the nightmares of people over the age of five who want kids to see movies that don't smurfing suck smurf.
In this never-ending sequel (following July's other lousiness in "Despicable Me 2," "Grown Ups 2" and "Red 2"), evil wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) wants his formerly evil creation Smurfette (voiced by Katy Perry) to tell him the secret Smurf formula so he can dominate the world -- even though apparently he already has as a globally successful magician. (When a guy can turn a person into a giant toad on stage, I guess "Gargamania" was only a matter of time.) So a few of the Smurfs (including Anton Yelchin and John Oliver returning as Clumsy and Vanity, respectively) travel to Paris to thwart Gargamel and his pigment-free minions Vexy (Christina Ricci) and Hackus (J.B. Smoove), who apparently won't be real Smurfs until they turn blue. What a tolerant portrayal of albinos.
Papa Smurf (the late Jonathan Winters) wants Smurfette to know it doesn't matter where you come from, just who you choose to be, although having Smurfs "named" Passive-Aggressive Smurf and Party Planner Smurf suggest otherwise. It's also very creepy and inconsistent that the Smurfs would see Hackus as a brother and Vexy as a romantic possibility.
If you weren't already vomiting, the brilliant Brendan Gleeson ("The Guard," "In Bruges") plays Patrick's (Neil Patrick Harris) stepfather, Victor, whom Gargamel turns into a duck. When Victor helps free other ducks and cries "Free at last!" Patrick asks him if he's "Martin Luther Wing."
Later, Gargamel claims, "If you weren't in excruciating pain, you'd be laughing hysterically." Sure, buddy.
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