Susan Granger's review of 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2'
After a brief recap of the 2009 original, this computer-animated sequel begins after accident-prone inventor Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) has supposedly destroyed his Diatomic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator to save the planet from a disastrous, if delicious, spaghetti and meatball
His island of Chewandswallow Falls has been quarantined and evacuated for cleanup. So its citizens have moved to the big city of San Franjose, where frustrated Flint is invited by his childhood idol, eccentric mogul/scientist Chester V (Will Forte), to join The LivE Corp Company, where the world's top innovators create technologies for "the betterment of mankind." Chester's new assistant, Barb (Kristen Schaal), turns out to be a bossy orangutan with a deviously manipulative human brain.
Problem is: Chester's aim is world domination, and Flint's infamous food-replicating machine is still operating, churning out a new ecosystem of edible food-animal hybrids called "foodimals."
So Flint, his fisherman father (James Caan) and friends (Anna Farris, Andy Stamberg, Neil Patrick Harris) must cope with a menagerie of weird jungle mutants like hungry tacodiles, playful watermelephants, hippotatoes, shrimpanzees, susheep, apple piethons, mosquitoasts, flamangos, fruitcocateils and double-bacon cheesespiders with French fry legs who have formed a delectable, self-sustaining gourmet utopia. Yummy!
Inspired by the beloved 1978 children's book written by Judi Barrett and illustrated by Ron Barrett, it's weakly scripted by pun-punishing Erica Rivinoja, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein but superbly visually conceived by co-directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, who worked on the original "Cloudy."
The result is energetic, entertaining and inventive, if overly noisy, evoking a funky riff on "Jurassic Park." That manic Chester V evokes memories of Apple entrepreneur Steve Jobs is hardly coincidental, although the similarity may be lost on the small fry audience.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2" is an imaginative, silly 7, a tasty second helping that's filled with family-friendly fun.