Just recently we had Disney’s Frozen, an animated feature putting a spin on Disney’s famed princess stories. That one was ambitious, punched above its weight and was successful in almost everything it attempted. Now comes Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2, directed by Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, a follow up to the 2009 film based on Judi and Ron Barret’s book of the same name, that pretty much shoots it straight. It’s not ambitious, nor does it aim for some bigger allegorical point. It’s a film built on the success of the first, with the same characters and mostly the same cast that dished out an appetizing affair the last time.
Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) returns as the protagonist with his machine still surviving in the island unbeknownst to him. The antagonist Chester V (Will Forte) relocates the people in the island offering to clean it up and tries to manipulate Flint into helping him locate the machine. What follows is the familiar group of Flint, Sam Sparks (Anna Faris), Tim Lockwood (James Caan), Brent McHale (Andy Samberg), Steve (Neil Patrick Harris) and Manny (Benjamin Bratt) wading through the island full of food items, some familiar from the first film and some not, intricately animated and imaginatively given life.
One problem with this film is that it is a mouth watering prospect even if it doesn’t exactly entertain you for long stretches. There are slurp worthy tacos and giant burgers wrecking havoc. There are living water melons and marshmallows that are just plain white yet superbly detailed. A flock of, not ostriches, but bananas. There is even a subway sandwich rising out mid sea. Be ready to head out to a restaurant as soon as this is done.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 is a kids film and is not one of those animated features from Hollywood that pulls at the heartstrings of kids and adults alike with a story that appeals equally to everyone. But even with such modest ambition, it doesn’t live up to the standards of the first film. Most jokes are situational and repetitive and the original ones are few and far in between. But it is unlikely that the target audience of this film care much about all that.