It's the perfect time of year, to bundle up with the entire clan for some couch bound entertainment. "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2" had every reason to come in with the gloomy expectations of an overcast day but the sky clears as soon as the film starts almost equalling the first effort in the franchise.
Inventor Flint Lockwood’s (Bill Hader) genius is finally being recognized as he’s invited by his idol Chester V (Will Forte) to join The Live Corp Company where the best and brightest inventors in the world create technologies for the betterment of mankind. But everything changes when he discovers that his most infamous machine; the FLDSMDFR is still operating and is now creating mutant food beasts. With the fate of humanity in his hands, Flint and his friends must embark on a dangerously delicious mission, battling hungry tacodiles, shrimpanzees, apple pie-thons, double bacon cheespiders and other food creatures.
Animated sequels are usually marred with cast changes and directorial changes and while this second chapter has exactly that, it actually managed something pretty rare as it kept the spirit and joie de vivre of the first film while still having plenty of gags to have fun with. The writing team from "Horrible Bosses" and "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" take over the reins while the original writing team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller stay on board as executive producers with story credit. Basically a continuation of the events of the first film, it feels like they never missed a beat as the zingers, puns and gags are flying across the screen at a fast enough rate to keep the kids delighted by sheer volume and the adults happy because some of them are pretty damn funny. The directorial team of Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn ably take over from Miller and Lord as the story moves at a solid clip gliding along the outstanding musical score from Mark Mothersbaugh as our heroes navigate their former home that is overrun with foodimals. Even with these changes, the ensemble glides along with a simply yet engaging story that they get the most out of thanks to some stellar comedic timing.
Bill Hader slides back in the role of Flint Lockwood as playing this idealistic young inventor just comes easily to him and with Will Forte joining the ensemble as Chester V, his character has a memorable villain to play off of. While I obviously acknowledge that they most likely recorded their parts separately, the comedic timing of these actors still comes shining through at every single turn. You just can't teach comedy that comes that naturally. Anna Faris, James Caan, Neil Patrick Harris & Benjamin Bratt while Terry Crews steps in for Mr T in what ended up being a distinct improvement as the roles of the Flint's friends expanded a great deal this time out and Kirsten Schaal joins the ensemble as a talking ape who just hates to be called a monkey.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray are top notch and the special features on the Blu-Ray include commentary from the filmmakers, 8 behind the scenes featurettes, the Cody Simpson "La Da Dee" music video, 4 deleted scenes access to the Foodimal-Funimal App and 4 fun and exclusive mini-movies.
When all is said and done, films like this will never reinvent the wheel but "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2" manages to be a pleasant surprise as it at least matches and occasionally surpasses the original film.
4 out of 5 stars.
"Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2" is now available to rent on DVD, Blu-Ray and via On Demand from all major providers. You can also find it available for purchase from retailers like amazon.ca, HMV and iTunes.