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The Smurfs hit theaters with a big blue bang this Friday when it surprised many by beating Cowboys & Aliens for the top spot on opening night. Starring Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays and Sofia Vergara, the filmed grossed $13.3 million on Friday.
A family movie, The Smurfs was criticized by many for its lack of story and overuse of the same jokes, but many critics did say it would probably be enjoyable for children.
In The Hollywood Reporter, Michael Rechtshaffen called the film a “noisy, live action/animated rendering” that “doesn’t bother trying to capture the essence of what made the Pierre ‘Peyo’ Culliford-created characters such a curiously endearing phenomenon.”
“Having previously helmed two Scooby-Doos and a Beverly Hills Chihuahua, director Raja Gosnell could probably have done this one in his sleep, which is likely where all but the most attentive of caregivers will helplessly find themselves drifting,” he also said.
Neil Genzlinger of the New York Times has a slightly more positive review. “Grown-up winks, along with an array of New York locations, make The Smurfs a surprisingly tolerable film for adults,” he wrote. He also called it “a decent enough excuse to haul the little ones into an air-conditioned theater.”
“This animated-live action hybrid is really more 3-D disaster than family comedy,” wrote Betsy Sharkey of The Los Angeles Times.
“Even Neil Patrick Harris, who has proved he can save just about any sinking ship (see prime-time awards shows such as the Emmys or Tonys), cannot make this boat float,” Sharkey continued.
“Outside of a soaring opening sequence that follows the Smurfs as they ride on the backs of birds, the 3-D is as unmemorable as the instantly forgettable storyline,” wrote the Washington Post’s Sean O’Connell. “The Smurfs will only appeal to a pre-adolescent audience.”
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