<em>Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2</em>

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

Review: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

The voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, and Will Forte star in this animated film written by Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett, and directed by Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn.

Fans of the first Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs will find themselves a little forlorn in the middle of this sequel. If anything, the brilliant original, adapted from the irreverent children’s book, was an overdose of fun: A complicated story that mixed genuinely touching elements with genuinely absurd flourishes and was fleshed out on the screen like a crazy tapestry. There were jokes, sight gags, and beautiful squiggles in every scene. This version begins and ends with a nice re-envisioning of all that inventiveness, though the middle of the film is, sadly, a boring slog.

This time out, Flint has been recruited by a Doctor Science-type character to come work on a giant campus that looks like a cross between Google and a Bullwinkle cartoon. Turns out that the machine Flint invented, which turned water into food in amok fashion, is now busy creating food monsters back home. When the gang goes to check out the supposed horrors, they get a lesson in human treachery instead.

The story is sweet, but not nearly as touching as the first outing, and with the exception of Steve the Monkey, its surprisingly uncomplicated by weirdo fun. Kids will like it, though it seems just a touch exploitative. Not making money off a runaway machine was the lesson Flint learned in the first film. Now the studio is doing it.

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