Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

Directed by: Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn

Starring:  Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Neil Patrick Harris, Benjamin Bratt, Terry Crews, Will Forte, and Kristen Schaal

Greetings movie lovers!  After a bit of an “end of summer” hiatus, I am back to the movie review business.  Naturally, my reign as animated movie review queen continues, and this week I had an opportunity to view Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.  The original film was quite inventive, colorful and fun.  Much to my dismay, however, the sequel simply does not match the creativity of the original, and Cloudy 2 pales in comparison to recent animated fare such as Monsters University and Despicable Me 2.

The film opens with our favorite inventor Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) after he has just saved the world from his dangerous creation the Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator (a.k.a. FLDSMDFR).  Flint has decided to create a super lab in Swallow Falls with his girlfriend Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) and his best friends Brent Mchale (Andy Samberg), Officer Earl (Terry Crews who assumed the role from Mr. T), Lockwood’s monkey Steve (Neil Patrick Harris) and Flint’s father Tim Lockwood (James Caan).  Much to their dismay, however, all of the locals must evacuate the island when the huge company Live Corp swoops in to clean up the island.  Flint and his friends are forced to temporarily move to California.

The news is not all bad for Flint.  His childhood hero, scientist Chester V (Will Forte) heads Live Corp and he offers Flint a job at his company.  Although Flint has just saved the world, he once again begins to doubt himself when he is surrounded by other super talented scientists at Live Corp.  In the midst of Flint’s self-esteem crisis, Chester V and his ape sidekick Barb (Kristen Schaall) tell him that Flint’s invention, the FLDSMDFR has run amok and is now turning food into living creatures.  Chester V asks Flint to return to Swallow Falls and shut down his creation.  Flint returns to the island with his father and friends.  When they arrive, they must face off against shrimpanzees, cheesespiders, and tacodiles to save the world.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is a colorful film that will likely appeal to young children.  Little ones will giggle over talking strawberries, pickles who love sardines, and dangerous cheeseburgers.   The mysterious island of foodimals created in the film grabbed the attention of the kids in my theater and elicited plenty of oohs and aahs.  Moreover, there are some adult jokes and humor littered throughout the movie that will entertain parents.  One scene in particular involving Flint’s initial reaction to a talking baby strawberry was absolutely hysterical.

However, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, like most sequels, simply rehashes the same storyline from the original film. Cloudy 2 relies heavily on the same formula, the exact same characters, the same island, the same invention, and a strikingly similar plot.  Even the evil Steve Jobs character, Chester V, fails to add any real spark to the film.  Compounding matters, the writers use the same food gag humor from start to finish.  At the start of the film, the food humor was cute and a little charming.  By the end of Cloudy 2, however, I no longer found it amusing to see a character yell that something is a piece of cake while standing next to a talking piece of cake. 

Cloudy 2 really suffers by comparison to all of the recent animated fare.  We have literally been assaulted with The Croods, Epic, Despicable Me 2, Turbo, Planes, etc.   We are no longer in a world where 3D animation is a rarity.  In a saturated market, filmmakers cannot reheat the same plot and create magic. I cannot help but contrast Cloudy 2 with Monsters UniversityMU is a wonderful example of an animated film that built upon and even surpassed its predecessor.  Cloudy 2 simply just is not that innovative.  

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 earns a 0.09% rating.  Since it is for the kids, have a root beer with this one.