Movie Reviews

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Rating: 6 out of 10
Movie Details: View here

Cast:
Bill Hader as Flint Lockwood (voice)
Anna Faris as Sam Sparks (voice)
James Caan as Tim Lockwood (voice)
Will Forte as Chester V (voice)
Andy Samberg as Brent McHale (voice)
Benjamin Bratt as Manny (voice)
Neil Patrick Harris as Steve (voice)
Terry Crews as Earl Devereaux (voice)
Kristen Schaal as Barb (voice)
Cody Cameron as Barry / Dill Pickle (voice)

Directed by Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn

Summary:
Funny side jokes and creative production design make "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" a film that the whole family will enjoy. The main downside for adults is a rather predictable storyline.

Story:
Immediately after the events of "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," Flint Lockwood is visited by his childhood idol Chester V. Chester is a world-renowned scientist and inventor and Flint's food producing machine has earned his attention. Chester offers to hire Flint and fly the entire population of the town to San Franjose while he cleans up their food covered island. Everyone happily agrees.

Flint soon discovers that his dream job isn't everything he thought it would be. He is pigeonholed in a cubicle and ignored by his idol, but when Chester's scientists reveal problems back at the island, he is forced to call on Flint for help. It turns out that Flint's machine is not only still operational but producing a horrific mix of living food monsters. Chester asks Flint to shut down the machine before the food animals escape the island.

Soon enough Flint is on his way back to the island, but he is quickly joined by Sam Sparks, his father Tim, Brent McHale, Manny, and the monkey Steve. However, when they arrive on the island, they soon discover that not everything is as it seems.

"Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2" is rated PG for mild rude humor.

What Worked:
The first film kind of came out of nowhere and surprised me with how entertaining it was. I had such low expectations that I was pleasantly surprised by the final result. And the strengths of that first film continue to be the strengths of the sequel.

First off, the side jokes are what really make the film. While the main storyline is rather straightforward and predictable, those side jokes generate the big laughs. For example, while Flint and Tim are having a heart to heart talk, the monkey Steve is freaking out in the background because his tail is on fire. In another scene, living cucumbers are beating each other like The Three Stooges while Tim tries to teach them how to fish. Later, as Flint gives a rousing "Braveheart" like speech, a living strawberry translates for him in the background with dramatic gestures and gibberish. Those laughs make the dull plot forgivable.

The other impressive element of this film and its predecessor is the production design. All of the food variations of animals are pretty amusing. You have a taco dinosaur, a cheeseburger giant spider, butter toads, and shrimp chimpanzees. The island itself is all food themed as well with syrup lakes, rock candy mountains, and more. It puts Candyland to shame. There is also a distinctive "Jurassic Park" vibe to the entire island that is fun as well. Our heroes go on a rescue mission, see dinosaur-like food monsters, and must try to survive. I never expected to see a food themed version of "The Lost World," but it works pretty well.

Most of the original cast returns for the sequel and do the same excellent job they did before. Bill Hader and Anna Faris prove their knack once again for voice work. The same goes for Andy Samberg as Baby Brent. Neil Patrick Harris steals the show as Steve while James Caan and Benjamin Bratt are much more understated in their roles. Mr. T unfortunately does not return as Earl Devereaux, but Terry Crews adequately fills in for him. New additions to the cast include Kristen Schaal as Barb, an orangutan with a human brain, and Will Forte as Chester V. He is a bit of a parody of Steve Jobs and his insane caffeine fueled think-tank is an entertaining sendup of Apple. I didn't even realize it was Forte providing the voice until the credits rolled.

I also have to mention that the music was pretty good. It's fun hearing Paul McCartney perform "New" in the beginning of the film and the credits.

What Didn't Work:
As previously mentioned, the plot of "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" is kind of dull for adults. You can spot who the bad guys are and who the good guys are from a mile away. That makes it less entertaining for the grown ups than for the kids. It’s a lot less entertaining than the first film.

While the side jokes make the movie, there was one that had me a bit taken aback. In a scene where Flint’s friends immediately drop everything to run and help him, we see Manny actually in the process of helping deliver a baby calf. The calf is literally shown half hanging out of the back of the mother in the middle of being born when Manny runs away. It is left kicking trying to get out of its mother. First of all, it’s kind of gross. Second, parents probably weren’t expecting to go into "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" having to explain where baby cows came from. It was a little much in what is otherwise a pretty tame movie.

The Bottom Line:
Kids will unconditionally love "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2", but there is still enough entertainment here for adults that it will make a pleasant family outing to the movie theater.

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