Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is a bright, enthusiastic follow-up to its predecessor. Like the first, the story is aimed mainly at pre-teens. Vibrant visuals and broad humor is the recipe. There’s an inanity that corrupts the proceedings. Nevertheless the production is so cheerfully goofy that after awhile it manages to still entertain.
Part 2 picks up right where the last picture ended. You might remember Flint Lockwood’s invention capable of converting water into food. Once it became self aware and evil, the invention was destroyed. But it miraculously survived. Known as the FLDSMDFR, it persevered on the mostly evacuated island of Swallow Falls where it continued to make more mutated food. It must be stopped again! They do a quick recap so it’s not necessary to have seen that movie. It does aid in appreciating the humans in the movie though.
Cloudy doesn’t bother with exposition for its large cast. The people in Flint’s life return: his girlfriend, his widowed father, Brent McHale, Officer Earl Devereaux, Manny, etc. The script depends on the fact that you’re already familiar with these people. Remember them? They’re back, is the understanding. No need to explain who they are or what makes them tick. Chester V (Will Forte) is one of the few new characters that is explained. He‘s a super-inventor and head of Live Corp. Overseeing the cleanup of the island, Chester has invited Flint to help . Chester is a most peculiar fellow, a tall skinny man with a round lightbulb shaped torso in an orange vest. He talks with calm reassurances of “Namaste” while moving his arms about like a voguing mime. He’s kind of hypnotic when he talks and I found him to be a welcome addition: equal parts disturbing and hilarious.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 isn’t the most original tale or even the funniest, but it is pleasant. The narrative ramps up the frivolity by extending the capabilities of the FLDSMDFR. It now creates bizarre living breathing food-animal hybrids or Foodimals. They’re the best thing about the story. Creatures called Hippotato, Shrimpanzee, Mosquitoast, and Tacodile Supreme are a pure delight. Their existence on the island is presented very much in the same vein as Jurassic Park. Strawberries have achieved an even more sentient personality. They speak in an affected baby talk like, well really like a little army of minions. The entertainment relies on the imaginative hybrid of Foodimals and not on an involving story. That’s not a problem in a silly cartoon, but that’s all this is, a silly cartoon. The lack of foundation keeps this from attaining the emotional depth of a Pixar film. It’s nonsensical fun, nothing more, and that’s okay.