Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (U)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner23/10/2013

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 95 mins

The sequel to Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs is brightly animated with likeable characters and a strong voice cast, but the plot feels weak and, some inspired animal-food gags aside, it lacks the wit, invention and pace of the first film.

What's it all about?
Directed by Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn (a voice actor and story head on the previous film, respectively), Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 is a sequel to the 2009 hit that picks up more or less where the first film ended, with inventor Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) and his friends – weathergirl girlfriend Sam (Anna Faris), pet monkey Steve (Neil Patrick Harris), dopey surfer dude Brent (Andy Samberg), ultra-capable cameraman Manny (Benjamin Bratt), supercop Earl Devereaux (Terry Crews replacing Mr T) and Flint's dad Tim (James Caan) – leaving their giant-food-covered island home and being rehoused in San Franjose while Flint's idol, Live Corp head Chester V (Will Forte) brings in a clean-up team and gives Flint a job at Live Corp to distract him.

Several months later, Flint and his friends still haven't been allowed to return to the island, so they decide to take Tim's boat to the island and are shocked to discover that Flint's machine is still operational and is churning out food-animal hybrids (Foodimals) such as tacodiles, shrimpanzees flamangoes and watermelephants. And when they realise that Chester V has tricked them and wants the machine for his own nefarious purposes, Flint and his friends have to try and shut the machine down before it's too late.

The Good
The characters are extremely likeable (Steve the Monkey is a real scene-stealer) and the voice cast are all excellent, though none of the them have quite as much to do this time round. Indeed, with no central romance in the sequel, the only character with anything approaching an emotional arc is Chester's under-appreciated ape sidekick Barb (Kristen Schaal, very sweet) and even Barb is under-used.

The brightly coloured animation is gorgeous to look at and every scene is packed with tiny details that will reward future viewings. The character designs on the Foodimals are inspired too, though you can't help feeling that all the creative effort in the film went into making food/animal compound jokes (pineappowl, hippopotatomus, eggplanatee, etc).

The Bad
To be fair, the film does have a decent gag rate, though they're more consistently amusing than laugh-out-loud funny and all the best jokes (e.g. “There's a leak in the boat!” Cut to a frightened leek) are in the trailer. Similarly, though the early part of the film has fun skewering Google/Apple/Microsoft etc with its portrayal of Live Corp, the rest of the film lacks that level of satiric invention and the plot feels increasingly weak as it plods along.

Worth seeing?
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is an entertaining sequel thanks to its talented comic voice cast and some superb animation but it lacks both the spark and the originality of the original film.

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Content updated: 23/03/2019 06:18

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