Top critical review
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on 19 June 2015
I had written off the original film as being mindless entertainment for kids, but when I saw it, I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed it. So when I heard plans for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, I knew I had to see it. Fortunately, I waited until it was out on DVD because it wasn't nearly as good as I expected.
This movie picks up immediately after the last film ended. The Live Corp Company has been hired to clean up the food left behind by Flint Lockwood's (voiced by Bill Hader) invention. Live Corp was founded and is still run by Chester V (Will Forte), Flint's inventing idol, so when Chester offers Flint a job while the island is cleaned, he jumps at the chance.
However, cleaning up the island doesn't go as planned. In fact, the machine has survived and is creating something new - mutant food/animal hybrids. There's only one way to stop it, reprogram the machine. And so Flint finds himself returning to the island with his girlfriend Sam Sparks (Anna Faris), his father Tim (James Caan), and several other friends from the first movie. Will they be able to stop the machine?
The first movie was predictable, but it had creativity and charm going for it. I actually laughed quite a bit at the clever things they did with the premise. It wasn't great art, but it was entertaining.
This movie? It is still fairly predictable. And the food/animal mashups were actually pretty clever. However, it just falls flat. I think that was for two reasons.
First, we spend too much time away from the island and the food. Once we get back there, it feels forced. Yes, some of that was set up, but it slowed the pacing of the film down over all.
Second, it has a been there and done that feel to it. Yes, we are doing with food/animals instead of food falling from the sky. Still, how we had to stop it wasn't that original. Flint and his father are still having the same issues. And it always feels like a cheat to me when they have to start a movie by invalidating the climax of the original. Even Steve the monkey, who stole the show in the first film, isn't nearly as funny here.
Now this isn't to take anything away from the voice cast, who are still great. The animation, likewise, is fun and feels perfect for this cartoony film.
The humor is something kids will appreciate. I can see them, the target audience, still getting a kick out of it. However, some of the creatures might scare kids when they first appear, so parents will want to be aware of that.
Kids will probably still be entertained by Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, but their parents will only be able to tolerate it. That's a shame since the first one was so much fun.