The Smurfs (2011)

smurfs poster 2011 movie
2.0 Overall Score
Story: 1/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 3/10

Neil Patrick Harris tries

Bad script, the Smurfs look bad

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Smurfs

Studio:  Sony Pictures Animation

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Comedy/Family

Release Date(s):  June 16, 2011 (Spain)/July 29, 2011 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG


Oh boy, this is going to be Smurfy!!!

It is the Blue Moon Festival and the Smurfs are celebrating.  When Clumsy Smurf accidentally leads Gargamel (Hank Azaria) and Azrael to the Smurf village, Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Grouchy Smurf, Brainy Smurf, Gutsy Smurf, and Clumsy Smurf are sucked into a portal to Earth with Gargamel and Azrael hot on their trail.  In New York City, the Smurfs befriend Patrick and Grace Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays) and find Patrick struggling with his job for Anjelou Cosmetics run by Odile Anjelou (Sofia Vergara).  As the Smurfs attempt to get home, Gargamel still plots to capture the Smurfs for his nefarious plans…and Patrick hopes he can hold on to his job as Grace expects their first child.


Oh Neil Patrick Harris…Rock Band and the Smurfs…I’d rather see another Harold & Kumar!!!

Directed by Raja Gosnell, The Smurfs adapts the popular ’80s Saturday morning cartoon for the big screen.  The 3D movie is a combination of live action and animated figures and was poorly received by critics.  Despite the bad ratings, the movie was a huge financial success.

The Smurfs (Les Schtroumpfs) or were invented by a Belgian comic writer named Peyo in 1958.  The series reached the U.S. in 1981 with the Saturday morning cartoon made by Hanna-Barbera.  The series rocketed the Smurfs to popularity and it was all quite Smurfy for years.


A box full of Smurfs…should be thrown in the river.

I enjoyed The Smurfs when I was little, but the series ended in 1993 after moving to the Cartoon Network.  It seems like it was a little extreme to make a Smurfs movie, but also foolish to not really tie into the nostalgia factor of the series or make the film more self-reflexive.

The Smurfs’ trip to New York City is gimmicky, but it also alienates older viewers.  I wanted to see more of the Smurfs that I knew form the series, but they only appeared at the beginning of the film and the end of the film.  It didn’t make much sense to me that the characters selected to go to New York were the most popular Smurfs…much less Smurfs made up for the movie.  Add to that a weak plot that didn’t seem fun for kids or adults and The Smurfs seems like a misfire.


Gargamel tries to capture the magic of the Smurfs…and fails like the film.

The movie did employ some decent voice actors and actors for the film.  Jonathan Winters (in his final role…which he reprises for the sequel) provides the voice of Papa Smurf and performer Katy Perry steps in as Smurfette.  Fred Armisen, Alan Cumming, George Lopez, and Anton Yelchin round out the stranded Smurfs while Jeff Foxworthy, Paul Reubens, B.J. Novak, Wolfgang Puck, John Kassir, Tom Kane, John Oliver, Kenan Thompson, and Joel McCrary make up the other Smurfs.  Frank Welker voices Azrael and Hank Azaria does what he can with Gargamel.  Neil Patrick Harris also tries hard (but fails) and Jayma Mays is nice as his wife.  Sofia Vergara and Tim Gunn don’t really do much with the cosmetics company and seem rather pointless.

Visually, The Smurfs also fails.  The movie looks like cartoons in a real world environment.  The attempt to make them more real doesn’t work (partially because of their skin texture) and add to that the cartoonish Gargamel and the poorly animated Azrael, and it is more nauseating than clever.

The Smurfs could have worked with a better script, though I still think Hollywood is really stretching.  The Scooby-Doo films were bad, but The Smurfs tops them and then some.  Despite the poor reception, money talks and the Smurfs came back for The Smurfs 2 in 2013.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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