No one is expecting The Smurfs to threaten Woody, WALL•E, or Shrek’s place on the Mount Rushmore of animated films — we’ve seen the trailer after all. But early critical reception for the Sony Pictures Animation film has been more grouchy than Gargamel, with the animated film scoring a perfect zero on Rotten Tomatoes. [Update: After a luke-warm endorsement from the New York Times, The Smurfs has risen to a 19 percent RT rating.] Which begs the question: How much do you love your children?
As anyone who has them knows, young children have an enormous impact on your moviegoing habits. Last week, I was the tie-breaking vote in deciding between The Zookeeper and Mr. Popper’s Penguins. (I’d rather not say which one I chose; the wound is still too raw.) Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks Animation consistently turn out quality films to be enjoyed by all ages — Tangled, Toy Story 3, and How to Train Your Dragon were as much for Dad as for the kids. But having kids generally means lowering your cinematic standards a little. I sat through Yogi Bear, for example, because my 5-year-old wanted to see Yogi get slammed in the face with a pie, like he did in the trailer. That was a long 82 minutes, my friends.
So back to the question: How much do you love your children? Most of them don’t even know what the Smurfs were or are, except that they’re cute and blue and one of them slips into the toilet in the trailer! Into the toilet, Dad! But as Neil Patrick Harris says in the trailer, “Do not be fooled by their cuteness!” I’m not. But I’d be a fool to promise you I won’t see this adventure eventually. According to Fandango, The Smurfs is the No. 1 movie for pre-sold tickets so far this week, ahead of Cowboys & Aliens, Harry Potter, and Crazy, Stupid, Love. So I know I’m not alone. I plan to hold out as long as I can, but if it’s a rainy day, and our air conditioner breaks, and the library says I owe late fees, it might come down to The Smurfs or The Zookeeper — oops — and I’m not sure I can resist.
Are your kids lobbying for The Smurfs this weekend? What’s the worst movie you’ve endured to placate your children?