A cornucopia of sentient foodimals? Puntastic food jokes? The return of wild-haired, young, food-creating inventor, Flynn Lockwood? What’s not to love? While Sony Animation Pictures’ ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2’ brings all of the above, the return of Lockwood and pals is not as enjoyably filling as the first, leaving the audience hungry for more than served.
Following the successful reception of 2009’s ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’ (with its worldwide gross of over $243 million), ‘Cloudy 2’ has been much anticipated in recent months. The buzz for the sequel began following a fabulously successful (‘There’s a leek in the boat!’) trailer shared throughout social media. And, ‘Cloudy’s’ characters even appeared in their own ‘Harlem Shake’ viral video during the short-lived online craze earlier this year.
This second outing picks up immediately after the original film ends. Returning characters Flynn (voiced by Bill Hader of ‘SNL’ fame), his bushy-eyebrowed father Tim (voiced by James Caan), love interest/meteorologist Sam Sparks (voiced by Anna Faris), and officer Earl Devereaux (voiced by Terry Crews, replacing Mr. T from the original film) are among the residents of Swallow Falls who all are forced to leave their beloved food-covered down until it can be cleaned by the tech-savvy and green ‘Live Corp Company.’ Relocated to San Fran Jose, California, while they wait for the town’s rehabilitation, Flynn is offered a job at Live Corp. with his scientist-inventor idol, Chester V (voiced by Will Forte). There, Flynn soon becomes obsessed with successfully impressing his idealized mentor (who has countless employee-followers at his tech company on the order of the late Steve Jobs) with manically inspired inventions. But Flynn soon leaves San Fran Jose behind when the Live Corp. tech team sent to clear Swallow Falls is unsuccessful. Flynn and friends quickly find themselves back in their metamorphosized hometown, where the world of Flynn’s created food has become alive, alarmingly teeming with cognizant food-animal hybrids.
‘Cloudy 2’ chooses to throw frosting to the wind and deviates from following the in-print sequel (‘Pickles to Pittsburgh’) to the children’s book that inspired the original movie, bringing a completely original script to its audience. While the last film only loosely adapted the original ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’ book, that ex libris plot seemed to give the prior film a bit of grounding from which whole-hearted jello jumping could be gleefully tethered. ‘Cloudy 2,’ though, has no such anchor -- other than numerous in-scene references to classic films like ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Gremlins' -- and seems held together by cheesy humor. Site gags and puns are aplenty, and many of them laugh-worthy, but the brightly-colored film, surprisingly, often drags, leading to a fairly predictable last course. The plot’s pacing never approaches the rat-a-tat quick fire jokes of its masterfully cut trailer. Most redeeming about the film are its fantastically rendered, superlatively clever (and often overwhelmingly cute) foodimals, such as tacodiles (‘supreme!’), shrimpanzees, and watermelophants, which seem to be wholly visually mesmerizing for the little ones.
In all, the ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2’ can be somewhat compared to plastic fruit: perfectly presented but imperfect for real sustenance. Nonetheless, ‘Cloudy 2’ has its brief comedic moments and can be a cute diversion for your younger moviegoers. Bottom line: ‘Cloudy 2’ is worth your time if you have children, but stay home and stream the original if you are an unattended adult. ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2’ is rated 3 of 5 (‘mildly recommended’) stars.
‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2’ is rated PG for ‘mild rude humor.’
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