I really enjoyed the first CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS.  It caught me off guard.  I didn’t expect it to be that good, but I found it incredibly inventive, funny and even a bit touching.  So when a sequel was announced, I was all for it!

The second one takes off pretty much moments after the first one ends.  Flint has saved his town from giant food falling from the sky and destroyed his dangerous invention.  As the town celebrates their victory, a famous Scientist named Chester arrives and offers to clean up the town while relocating all of its residents.  Flint also accepts a job at Chester’s company to invent things.  Meanwhile, Chester is actually looking for Flint’s invention for his own personal use, which is still working…. but it’s now producing mutated food monsters.  When his crew becomes missing, Chester asks Flint to go to the island to find his machine and “destroy” it, but the evil scientist has other plans.  So now, Flint, with the help of his girlfriend Sam, his father, that police chief, Brent, and Flint’s pet monkey Steve, embarks on a dangerous journey to save his town once again.

Nothing about this plot feels very original, which is fine.  It doesn’t have to be, as long as it’s enjoyable.  I would say that it’s sort of successful.  The first film was very manic and full of infectious energy.  This one does have that same kind of energy.  It’s very loud and fast paced and should entertain most kids.  For me, at its best, it’s mildly entertaining.   At its worst, it’s unmemorable.  The last film had the element of surprise for me, but now, since I liked the first film, I had expectations.  While I didn’t have a bad time, it just felt all to familiar and felt more like a cash grab than the filmmakers actually making a story that they really wanted to tell.

The best thing about the movie for me was seeing all the different types of food monsters Flint’s machine has created.  And of course, every one has a pad pun for a name.  I loved the design of the banana bird things, the taco monster, and a bunch of others.  A lot of creativity went into designing those creatures.  I just wish more time went into the story.  For me, the heart of the story of the first one was the relationship between Flint and his father, and especially for me, the romance between Flint and Sam.  In this one, they try doing the father/son thing again, but it feels a bit forced this time.  And the relationship between Flint and Sam isn’t even close to what it was in the first.  Those elements weren’t as strong this time.

Also, the first movie was extremely funny.  Now, there are some funny moments sprinkled throughout, but it just doesn’t have the freshness of the original.  Most of the jokes are rehashed ones from the previous film.  That’s not to say that they’re not funny.  Some of it is funny.  Most of the laughs come from Steve the monkey, who is fun to watch.  Even when he’s not the main focus, he’s always in the background doing something humorous.  In fact, for me, the best part of my viewing experience was watching my girlfriend laugh at Steve’s shenanigans.  I also liked the addition of a cute little Strawberry that tags along with Flint.  It’s just adorable.  When the characters and creatures get to just let loose and be funny, the film is fun, but then that all too familiar plot of the Scientist wanting to take over the world comes into play, and I kind of lost interest.  Also, the character baby Brent is just not funny at all this time.  He comes across very annoying this time, and began to grate on me as the film went on.

The voice acting is about the same.  Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Neil Patrick Harris, Andy Sandberg, and Benjamin Bratt all return from the previous film, and all do a solid job.  Will Forte is fine as the villain, even if he’s a little bland at times.  Another new addition is Terry Crews replacing Mr. T as the cop, who does decent work.  The animation looks great.  I love the look of both films, and with the creature designs, this one certainly is interesting to gaze at.  It’s visually impressive.  However, that script just doesn’t have the unexpected magic of the first one.

Perhaps it’s unfair to compare it to the first.  In fact, I probably would have enjoyed this more if I hadn’t seen the original.  On its own, it’s not a bad movie.  Kids are certainly going to enjoy it, and it’s definitely not the worst thing you can sit through.  But since I loved the first one so much, I was just expecting something a bit more.   If your kids loved the original, then you should probably take them to it.  Just lower your expectations.   ★★½ (out of ★★★★)

– Rated PG for mild rude humor.

– Running time: 1hr 34min.

Categories: Austin Kennedy, Reviews

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