DVD Release Date: January 28, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: September 27, 2013
Rating: PG (mild rude humor)
Run Time: 95 min.
Directors: Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn
Cast: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Will Forte, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Terry Crews, Kristen Schaal
In a world where “what’s cool” becomes “yesterday’s news” at a seemingly breakneck pace, four years is a pretty long wait for a movie sequel these days.
But for anyone who enjoyed the quirky adaptation of Judi Barrett’s beloved children’s book Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs in 2009, well, there’s a good chance you’ll also love the second installment. Wisely opting for the whole if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it mentality, the filmmakers serve up yet another imaginative and eye-popping foodie adventure that features a loveable protagonist, the awkwardly brilliant young scientist named Flint Lookwood (“Saturday Night Live” alum Bill Hader).
After concocting a veritable string of flops (spray-on shoes, for one) that inevitably made Flint the laughing stock of his coastal hometown, the determined inventor finally hit the jackpot with an idea that really did make the world a better place. In the wake of insurmountable financial challenges caused by the closing of a local sardine plant, Flint dreamed up a cost-effective mechanism to feed the masses in style. And thanks to the Diatomic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator, all the raindrops were converted to lemon drops, gumdrops, and yes, even spaghetti and meatballs.
But what began as a beautiful gift for mankind eventually lead to global gluttony and a pile of waste so large that it was no longer possible for anyone to enjoy everyday life. So as proud as he was of his work, Flint wisely destroyed his greatest triumph—and life went on as usual. Or so he thought…
While contemplating his next mind-blowing creation, Flint gets an unexpected visit from his scientific hero—or more specifically, the hologram of the illustrious Chester V (Will Forte, The Watch). Inviting Flint to work for his prestigious Live Corp Company, Flint can hardly believe his good luck. Not surprisingly, however, Chester V and his cronies have an ulterior motive, and it involves getting their hands on Flint’s now-infamous machine.
See, the Dynamic Food Replicator is still operational, but it’s now churning out rather ominous food-animal hybrids such as fla-mangoes, shrimpanzees and banan-ostriches. Not sure what to make of the situation, Flint and his weather gal-pal Sam Sparks (Anna Faris, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked) are instantly protective of their new friends. Instead of wanting to destroy them, they’d prefer to study and see what makes them tick. Trouble is, while the creatures are cuddly once you get to know them, is the world really safe if there’s a cheeseburger bully that zips around on spider-like French fry legs? Or a lettuce-spitting taco-dile with a penchant for screaming at a frighteningly high pitch?
Given that it’s a movie with the kiddie set in mind, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 is decidedly light on social commentary. In fact, the screenwriters don’t even seem particularly confident about what happens if the machine wound up in the wrong hands. What does seem to be a priority, however, is serving up a memorable story that’s borderline kooky. Such exotic creatures naturally make for engaging visuals, and that’s, perhaps, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2’s greatest asset.
Characterized by lively animation, a madcap sense of humor and the quiet determination of Flint himself, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 won’t probably be considered an animated classic. Nonetheless, like this past summer’s Despicable Me 2, it’s sure a lot of fun as it embraces the spirit of Barrett’s original work and transports the audience to a wild, wacky new world where it’s actually dangerous when food becomes your friend—an intriguing prospect indeed.
CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers):
- Drugs/Alcohol: None, unless you count the nearly non-stop caffeine served up at the LiveCorp offices.
- Language/Profanity: A few instances of rude scatological humor. No actual profanity, though. As close as they come is saying “crapballs” or “darn.”
- Sex/Nudity: A male police officer is briefly shown wearing a dress. Flint and Sam kiss on a couple of occasions.
- Violence: The violence is mostly of the slapstick variety, i.e. a man getting hit in the crotch with a softball.
*This Review Published 9/27/2013