2011's "The Smurfs" tends to get negatively lumped in with other similar live-action/animated feature adaptations like 2004's "Garfield" (and its 2006 sequel, "A Tale of Two Kitties") and 2007's "Alvin and the Chipmunks" (and its respective follow-ups, 2009's "The Squeakquel" and 2011's "Chipwrecked"), but whereas those were calculated, pre-packaged, scattershot efforts that alienated now-adult fans of the 1980s cartoons they were based on, the Raja Gosnell-directed tale of a land of little blue men (and one girl) actually did succeed at capturing the charm of—and creating the proper nostalgia for—its source material. Lightweight as it was, "The Smurfs" also offered some shrewd writing and a certain amount of sincerity to help balance the tone. The film was jokey without making a mockery of itself, and sweet without becoming saccharine. "The Smurfs 2," directed again by Gosnell (2008's "Beverly Hills Chihuahua"), tries to repeat the same formula, but, as so often is the case with sequels, merely rehashing what was done before while altering the setting is not enough for lightning to strike twice. Amazingly, a quintet of screenwriters had a hand in this unoriginal movie's construction—J. David Stern, David N. Weiss, Jay Scherick, David Ronn, and new-to-series fifth writer Karey Kirkpatrick (2008's "The Spiderwick Chronicles")—leading one to wonder whether a single scripter would have helped the finished product or resulted in a blank screen.
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