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The Cricket
Sean P. Means
Sean is the movie critic and columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @moviecricket.

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This publicity image released by Sony Pictures Animation shows, from left, Vexy, voiced by Christina Ricci, Smurfette, voiced by Katy Perry, Gargamel, voiced by Hank Azaria, and Hackus, voiced by J.B. Smoove, in a scene from the film "Smurfs 2." (AP Photo/Sony Pictures Animation)
Wednesday movie opening: ‘The Smurfs 2’ arrives

"The Smurfs 2" (opening today) is better than the first movie, and heaven help me if that’s used in a quote by a movie studio. It’s still not that good.

The story lands the little blue creatures in Paris, on a mission to rescue Smurfette (voiced by Katy Perry) from the evil wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria). Gargamel, Smurf fans may recall, created Smurfette to be an evil temptress — but she turned good thanks to the loving care of Papa Smurf (voiced by Jonathan Winters, in his final role). Now, Smurfette wonders if she’s truly a good Smurf, or if she should ally herself with the Gargamel-created Naughties, Vexy (voiced by Christina Ricci) and Hackus (voiced by J.B. Smoove).

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The movie brings back human cast members Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays as Patrick and Grace Winslow, and adds the charming Brendan Gleeson as Patrick’s overbearing stepfather.

The tone shifts weirdly from silly to sentimental, but undemanding children may have some fun with it.

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