‘Smurfs’ Should Beat Crappy ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ at the Box Office

I was standing in line for Cowboys & Aliens yesterday afternoon when I overhead someone say that Smurfs—the creepy-looking big screen adaptation of the vintage cartoon—was tying with Cowboys & Aliens for opening weekend box office sales. How bizarre, I thought to myself. Well, there's no accounting for people's taste, and family films always do well.

Then I actually sat through all 118 minutes of Jon Favreau's big budget Western/sci fi mashup. My conclusion? Smurfs deserves to win in ticket sales, because no matter how atrocious it may be, at least no one's watching it with the hopes that it's going to be awesome.

Unlike Cowboys & Aliens, which was exactly as disappointing as biting into what you think is going to be a delicious Almond Roca, only to discover it's actually a kitty-litter-coated turdnugget.


Here's the main problem with Cowboys & Aliens: during the entire process of making the movie, no one had the balls to take Favreau aside and say, "Dude, I know you're a talented guy and all, but believe me when I tell you this thing you're making right now is sucking a whole lot of ass." Instead, everyone seemed to be preoccupied with making sure that the poster had a large enough font size to remind us that this gem is FROM THE DIRECTOR OF IRON MAN.

Yeah, well, I've got two words and one letter to say about overhyping directors:
M. Night Shyamalan.

You start with an entirely wooden protagonist (
Daniel Craig may look damn fine with his shirt off, but he does nothing more than glower stoically here while occasionally beating people senseless), add Harrison Ford who starts out as a crusty old sonofabitch then morphs into an inexplicably sappy bag of lamesauce who actually utters the line "I always dreamed of having a son like you," mix in a bunch of could-have-been-great characters who were simply wasted in this mess of cliches from both genres, and sprinkle in some drugstore Indians along with a swarm of aliens who apparently have the ability to deflect or be detonated by bullets, depending on the scene. What are you left with? A comically terrible crapfest, which is only made worse by the presence of Olivia Wilde, whose character I will not spoil for you except to say OH MY GOD GIVE ME A BREAK.

Worst of all,
Cowboys & Aliens makes the fatal choice of taking itself too seriously. The whole thing could have been a lighthearted, campy ass-kicking romp, but instead we got flashbacks, painfully boring scenes that attempted to convey emotion, a kid who I guess we were supposed to be rooting for, and even a friendly dog. By the end, I just wanted everyone to die a gruesome death at the hand of the aliens.

In comparison, I have to assume that
Smurfs at least delivers what it promises: a syrupy junker filled with annoying Smurf word substitutions. Cowboys & Aliens deserves to be remembered as the potentially killer genre mashup that ended up being a heaping pile of Smurf.

Have you seen either movie? What did you think?

Image via IMDb

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