By Dan Metcalf, Jr.
Clipper Film Correspondent
Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 (Columbia)
Rated PG for mild rude humor.
Starring Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Terry Crews, Kristen Schaal.
Written by John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein, Phil Lord, Chris Miller and Erica Rivinoja, based on characters created by Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett.
Directed by Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn.
I was pleasantly surprised by 2009's Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, the film adaptation of the popular children's book by Judi and Ron Barrett. It had heart, humor and decent animation, making it a surprise hit. Four years later, we're finally getting a sequel: Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2.
Bill Hader voices Flint Lockwood, the science nerd who created the machine that made food rain from the skies until it had to be shut down in the first movie. Anna Faris returns as the equally nerdy Sam Sparks, the love of Flint's life. James Caan reprises the role of Flint's father Tim Lockwood, while Andy Samberg returns as the voice of Brent (the guy in the chicken suit). Neil Patrick Harris also returns as the voice of Flint's talking monkey Steve. Since Mr. T passed on the sequel, Terry Crews takes over as the voice of Earl Devereaux, the ever-vigilant police officer of Shadow Falls, the island that was nearly destroyed by a food storm in the first movie.
The story picks up right where the last movie ended, as Flint and the people of Shadow Falls consider what to do about cleaning up the leftovers. At that same moment, Flint's childhood hero Chester V (Will Forte) arrives with an army of “Live” Corporation workers who escort all the citizens of Shadow Falls off the island. Chester V presents himself as an principled, scientific genius and environmentally-conscious leader of the equally principled Live Corporation (sort of a dig at Apple Computers).
Flint accepts a position at Live Corp., and agrees to relocate to “San Franjose” (another Silicon Valley snipe) with all his friends and family. Flint soon discovers that Chester V might not have his best interest in mind, but takes courage after his idol invites him to tag along on an excursion back to the island, due to some new developments there. The “new developments” come in the form of “foodimals,” or food-animal hybrids that have come to life due to Flint's machine, which was apparently not destroyed and fell to the island after the finale in the first film. Flint brings his dad and friends along (including Sam, Steve, Ed and Brent). During his quest to find the machine, they encounter the foodimals along the way. The foodimals appear dangerous at first, but Sam and the others soon discover that they are part of an ecological system and are living beings with families.
Flint must decide whether to follow his idol or stick with his friends and family in order to save the new living inhabitants of Shadow Falls.
Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 has all the charm and humor of the first movie, with a heaping helping of extra food puns on the side. “There's a LEEK in my boat!” is sure to be a fan favorite, along with a few others. The frequency and quality of the food puns border on the “knock-knock joke” caliber of humor, which may induce a little more eye-rolling among parents.
So, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 might be a treat for some, an acceptable second course for some, and a little hard to swallow for others.
It's all a matter of taste.