The current Smurfs cycle began only in 2011, with another installment in 2013, and it’s being rebooted already? The horrid mix of live action and animation is out, but this new all-cartoon entry is pure dumb and maybe even too problematic to work on a strictly-for-kiddies level. A trek into the “Forbidden Forest” to find a legendary lost village of Smurfs becomes an obsession for Smurfette (Demi Lovato), desperate to redeem her evil origin as a spy for Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) and discover her “purpose” as the sole woman in a world full of men named Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty. Even with this overt attempt to be feminist, she still ends up a damsel in distress who needs rescuing, and she still hikes through the forest in impractical heels. Arrival in said lost village—similar to the psychedelic trippyness of last year’s Trolls—quickly descends into an even more head-scratching idea of feminism, one that puts Smurfette on a pedestal and excuses the one-note nature of her male compatriots. She “can’t be defined by just one word,” but they can? Not a good message for the little ones.
Director: Kelly Asbury
Producer: Jordan Kerner, Mary Bauder Andrews, Raja Gosnell and Ben Waisbren
Cast: Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson, Joe Manganiello, Jack McBrayer, Danny Pudi, Mandy Patinkin, Dee Bradley Baker, Frank Welker, Michelle Rodriguez, Ellie Kemper, Julia Roberts, Ariel Winter, Meghan Trainor, Bret Marnell, Brandon Jeffords, Kelly Asbury, Jake Johnson, Gabriel Iglesias, Tituss Burgess, Jeff Dunham, Patrick Ballin, Gordon Ramsay and Melissa Sturm