Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2
Now playing at Dunbar and International Village
Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 may be the biggest setback for the parents of picky eaters since raw veggies were invented: “That cute food has feelings, Mom!”
Blame the folks at Sony Animation Studios for their zealous personification of pickles, strawberries, leeks and the like. Your kid might play with his food well into high school.
In the first Cloudy, Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) invented a machine that could turn weather systems into food, such as spaghetti tornadoes. He destroyed the behemoth invention and saved the island town of Swallow Falls, evacuating because of all that food mess.
The sequel picks up immediately where the 2009 film left off. On the mainland, Flint takes a job with inventor Chester V (Will Forte), the kooky billionaire head of Live Corp. But Flint’s thirst for fame and recognition will have to wait: unbeknownst to Flint his invention survived and has now evolved, churning out food animals — “foodimals” — some of which graze peacefully, and some of which threaten life as we know it. (We should have known something was up after those cute little gummy bears attacked Flint and friends in the first film.)
The machine now pumps out food monsters that bite back, such as deadly tacodiles, apple piethons and mosquitoasts.
Flint takes his girl-crush — meteorologist Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) — back to the island to tackle the foodimals before they jump the channel and threaten the mainland. Also along for the ride is Flint’s dad (James Caan). Recently liberated from his old-school standoffishness, Tim Lockwood is driving his son crazy with hugs and fishing metaphors.
Also returning to save the day are Andy Samberg,Benjamin Bratt and Neil Patrick Harris. Terry Crewes replaces Mr. T as Officer Earl.
The monkey business from the first film is doubled in the sequel: Flint’s monosyllabic primate sidekick Steve is back, but he’s joined by Barb, a lipstick-wearing, evolved oranguatan (played by the deadpan Kristen Schaal). Instead of having eyes for Steve, Barb’s human brain can’t help yearning for Chester… But parents needn’t worry: interbreeding, hybrid and evolutionary chatter is kept to a minimum, other than the obvious crazy side effects of genetically modified foods.
Cody Cameron was story artist for the first Cloudy, Kris Pearn was head of story. Both have been promoted and sit in the directors’ chairs, and Cameron voices the film’s cutest character, Barry the Berry. Now that Flint has the acceptance of his father and a girl at his side, there is less at stake emotionally. Not a big criticism, but it does narrow the target audience somewhat to those still young enough to play with their food, and those who appreciate jokes about cutting the cheese. Unless you like food puns, of course, and there are no shortage of those.
Fans of Judi and Rob Barrett, who wrote the original book and two sequels, Pickles to Pittsburgh and Planet of the Pies, should note that filmmakers have gone an entirely new direction with Cloudy 2. It’s an absorbing enough 90 minutes and a dream for anyone who has spent long periods of time staring at her plate, wishing her broccoli would just get up and walk away.
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