MOVIE REVIEW: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

I enjoyed the music of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, which included Paul McCartney’s new song, “New.”

Sunday morning, my brother-in-law calls; he’s fixing up a house in my area. His wife’s trip back from Ukraine has been delayed a day – he’s planning on picking her up at JFK airport then driving back to Pennsylvania with their daughter. With some extra time on his hands, did we want to go to the movies? He’ll pay. OK! The choice they made was Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.

My family (wife, daughter, and I) meet them (BIL, daughter) at Colonie Center, and actually don’t enter the theater until the previews were already going for three minutes, then we see 10 MORE minutes of animated coming attractions, most of which convinced me NOT to see them.

By happenstance, my family had seen the first movie in the series and had liked it. This take, even in 2-D, was brighter visually, and better drawn – probably a result of a bigger budget – and I loved it. The recap of the first film was handled quite efficiently before launching into the new adventure.

Inventor Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader), who created the mess in the first film, is invited by his “idol Chester V (Will Forte) to join The Live Corp Company, where the best and brightest inventors in the world create technologies for the betterment of mankind.” Ultimately, Flint is sent on a sensitive mission involving his most infamous creation, which is creating food-animal hybrids; Chester tells him he can save the world. Flint’s supposed to do it alone, but he brings his crew, including girlfriend Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) and his dad (James Caan), with whom he finally connected at the end of film 1.

I liked it for what it was: a lot of funny visual jokes/food puns, and a narrative that suggests that work, in lieu of your friends, isn’t a good choice. It also suggests that hero-worship is highly overrated. The plot was serviceable, not great, but I enjoyed it, and the characters therein; my wife, and my daughter, did not. The story was not compelling enough for the Wife. It is true that the character upon which the resolution of the story fell was clear to me fairly early on. My sensitive daughter was scared by some seemingly hostile foods.

Subsequently, I listened to the Bat Segundo Show when Ed Champion interviewed writer Kathryn Davis, and about halfway through, they had a riff on the misunderstood monster. II then realized that perhaps there was more to the narrative of the film than I had originally realized.

The voice actors, which also included Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Terry Crews, and Kristen Schaal, are all quite good. I enjoyed the music, which included Paul McCartney’s new song, “New,” some Mark Mothersbaugh, and Yummy Yummy” by the 1910 Fruitgum Company.

On a scale of 1 to 4, I’d give it 3 stars. Looks great, seemingly less filling (despite the food theme). The mixed positive reviews I’ve seen are mostly accurate. I do love how the storyline continues through the early part of the credits – WHY do people leave during them?

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