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'Smurfs 2' will have adults feeling blue

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‘The Smurfs 2'

1⁄2 (out of 4)

PG for some rude humor and action

Wide release

Pittsburgher movie quiz for yunz

Is 'Birdman' star Michael Keaton the best actor with western Pennsylvania ties? Click here to play the Trib's tongue-in-cheek attempt to find out.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Roger Moore
Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 8:09 p.m.
 

Get yourself into a Smurfy frame of mind, hum a few notes of “The Smurf Song” and try to remember your cartoon-watching primary school years. Cross your fingers that actors Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, Jayma Mays and Brendan Gleeson will find something funny to do.

Never mind. Filled with Smurf wholesomeness, Smurf puns and posi-Smurf messages about never giving up “on family,” “The Smurfs 2” still sucks Smurfberries.

Gargamel the Smurf-hater is now a big-shot magician, filling venues around the world. But the wizard (Hank Azaria, who never lets us see the boredom) is running out of Smurf Essence for his shows. As he preps for his Paris Opera House debut, he conjures up a couple of Naughties (voiced by Christina Ricci and J.B. Smoove), who Smurf-nap Smurfette (Katy Perry) from Smurf Village. This is especially bad because she knows Papa Smurf's magic formula — and so, after a little enhanced interrogation by Gargamel and his digital cat (the movie's best effect), it could be “Smurf-a-geddon.”

“Oh, the Smurf-anity!”

That's unless Papa (the late Jonathan Winters) and his motley “B-team” ( voiced by George Lopez, Anton Yelchin and John Oliver) can stop them, with the help of their human friends, Patrick and Grace (Harris, Mays) and Patrick's clumsy, pushy stepdad (Gleeson).

There are five credited writers in this retread, and the best line sounds as though it was improvised by Lopez, as Grouchy Smurf: “Every time a Smurf toots, somebody smiles.”

Other quips are feebler (“I was Meryl Smurfing Streep in there!”), the animation passable, the special effects quite good and the 3-D utterly pointless. But if your tiny-tyke target audience has to see something, at least it's harmless.

And if Harris isn't getting better offers in between sitcom seasons and Tony Awards shows, and he's got to perform blue material to get by, he could do worse.

Roger Moore reviews movies for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

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