28 July 2013 3:51 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The global family auds who powered 2011’s “The Smurfs” to a smurftastic $580 million gross will find much to enjoy in “The Smurfs 2,” a sequel that changes scarcely a drop of Smurf-essence in its winning formula. Tax-incentive Paris is substituted for New York this time, and a few new characters have been added to the mix, but the genially goofy shenanigans, incredibly corny punchlines and Hank Azaria’s go-for-broke performance as the incompetent wizard Gargamel are very much the same ― an entirely welcome thing in a summer movie season full of so much apocalyptic Sturm und Drang. Coming on the heels of DreamWorks Animation’s nonstarter “Turbo,” the pic should prove a formidable challenger to “Monsters University” and “Despicable Me 2” for the summer’s family box-office pennant.

Much like its predecessor, this new “Smurfs” plays like a lower-brow version of Disney’s 2007 hit “Enchanted,” with beloved storybook characters freely »


- Scott Foundas

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