Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

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Robin Clifford of Reeling Reviews
Robin Clifford 
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
Laura Clifford of Reeling Reviews
Laura Clifford 

Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) unleashed his greatest invention, the Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator" (FLDSMDFR for short), on his destitute island town of Swallow Falls, that made food fall from the sky. The obvious disastrous aftermath of food gone bad forced him to leave his island home. The FLDSMDFR, he learns, was not destroyed and has gone awry, creating dangerous hybrid food-animals (foodimals) and it is up to Flint and his friends to save the world in “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.”

Robin:
The United Nations has declared Swallow Falls a dangerous place and the island’s inhabitants are evacuated immediately. Chester V (Will Forte), a wealthy scientist and Flint’s lifetime idol, invites the young man to come work for him at LIVE Corp. He wants to take the job in hope of becoming one of CV’s elite team but does not want to leave his family and friends – Tim, his dad (James Caan), girlfriend/best friend Sam (Anna Faris), police officer Earl Devereaux (Terry Crews), Manny (Benjamin Bratt) and, of course, Steve (Neil Patrick Harris), Flint’s pet monkey.

Flint is ordered by Chester V to return to Swallow Falls, find the infernal machine, and destroy it using the BSUSB (one of the many puns intended to amuse the parents of the child target audience). And, Chester V insists he must accomplish the mission alone. That is not going to work for Sam and the gang and they tag along for the ride on Tim’s sardine boat. The remainder of “Cloudy 2” is a page out of “Jurassic Park” with a fantastical array of foodimals make their appearance. The cheesespider is a giant cheeseburger burger on french fry legs, the flamango is part mango part flamingo., the tacodile is…you guessed it. There are many more of these colorful creatures for the kids to gaze at in wonder.

The story, by a committee of scribes, takes the safe sequel route as Flint and friends must stop the machine that may cause the end of humanity if the foodimals get off the island. “Cloudy 2” also reminds me of the original “King Kong” and several mad scientist movies But, these tributes to these film genres is just to placate the parents who accompany their youngster who will insist on seeing “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.” The little guys are going to be thrilled with the adventure, the plethora of critters and their bright colors. I give it a C+.

Laura:
On the island of Swallow Falls, which inventor Flint Lockwood (voice of Bill Hader) almost destroyed with his FLDSMDFR, a device which turned water into food, residents are wondering how to deal with the aftermath when Live Corp's CEO Chester V (voice of Will Forte) arrives to announce a cleanup and containment project.  Everyone will have to be temporarily relocated to San Franjose, where Flint can compete to become Live Corp's next lauded inventor, but after a televised humiliation Flint's given a special, secret assignment - to return to Swallow Falls which his FLDSMDFR has now turned into a Jurassic Park of foodimals in "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2."

The first of this series was a delightful stew of ingenious character design, puny puns and sight gags galore.  The sequel provides more of the same but feels reheated, the filmmakers spending more energy on how they could get their characters back than why they should.  The many nods to "Jurassic Park" will more than likely fly over the heads of the film's target audience while hitting adults over their noggins and the Apple/Google-like Live Corp with its Steve Jobs inspired CEO skirts over parody rather than mining it.

Returning supporting players, like Earl Devereaux (voice of Terry Crews), whose transformation from San Franjose barista back to badass cop is a highlight, and Flint's seafaring dad Tim (voice of James Caan), who finds his love of sardines shared by oversized pickles, are more fun than the main players.  Bright colors are exploited with Flint's failed 'celebration in a box' device, a visual treat neatly worked into the climax.  Many of the foodimals are quite inventive, like the 'wild scallions' which ape "Jurassic's" brachiosauruses, but they're not consistently thought out - a shrimpanzee is a food which was already an animal while others, like Barry the sweet little strawberry, is simply a walking talking version of itself untransformed.

"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" has its moments but the film as a whole gets stale pretty quickly.

C
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