Hey, you remember that movie that came out a while ago that was loosely based on the children’s book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs? And by loosely based, I mean the only thing they kept was the food weather? Well, now they’ve made a sequel that has even less to do with the book. And by even less, I mean nothing.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 follows Flint Lockwood and his friends as they return to the town of Chewandswallow to save the world from mutant food animals created by Flint’s food machine. Is it a tasty treat or will it give you a stomachache? Well, let’s take a look at the trailer and find out. (To follow along, click here.
So who stars in this movie? Bill Hader returns as Flint Lockwood. In addition to appearing in films such as Superbad and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, he has also been a regular on Saturday Night Live. His love interest, Sam Sparks, is played by Anna Faris, who has also starred in The House Bunny, Lost in Translation, and Scary Movies 1-4. Other returning cast members include Neil Patrick Harris, James Caan, Andy Samberg, and Benjamin Bratt. Sadly, Mr. T is no longer part of the team, replaced by Terry Crews. Somehow this movie seems to shine a little less brightly because of the loss.
This film actually has two directors, Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn. Cameron’s only previous directorial credit for a full-length film is Open Season 3, and Pearn is a brand new director. One is an voice actor and the other is a story artist, so in theory, the two should complement each other and make a good movie. However, there’s always the possibility that the two might have different ideas about how to make the movie, so at this point there’s no way to tell if these directors will be good or bad for the film.
Our trailer begins with Flint visiting Sam’s apartment to let her know that “I’m going back to Swallow Falls to destroy the FLDSMSFR which is creating deadly food monsters that are trying to learn how to swim so they can attack Lady Liberty!” Wow, you are amazingly well-informed. How exactly do you know they’re planning to attack Lady Liberty? Maybe they’re just going for a refreshing dip. Also, I definitely remember them destroying the machine in the first movie. How is it still in one piece and in working condition?
Sam says she’s in, but Flint tries to talk her out of coming. Um, why were you telling her this if you weren’t going to bring her along? “I’m going on this mission, and I want you to sit here and do nothing.” You’ve been dating this girl for a while. You should know her better than that. But Sam reappears in a completely different wardrobe saying they’ll need help. You know, with quick change skills like that, she should consider a career as a superhero.
After getting his team from the last movie back together (minus the voice of Mr. T), Flint tells them their first objective is to get to his lab. No, your first objective according to the screen is Docks, then Traverse Environs, and then Lab. Don’t skip the crucial steps, Flint. Once at the lab, they’ll deactivate the FLDSMSFR. It’ll be easy as pie, he says. And then they see a humongous piece of pie outside their window. Brace yourselves, people; that was only the first in a long line of really bad puns.
The team disembarks in Swallow Falls and gasps in amazement for about five seconds straight, showing off their incredible lung capacity. Before them lies a Jurassic Park-style landscape filled with foodimals. “It’s so beautiful!” cries Sam. Clearly she hasn’t seen the teeth on those cantaloupes. We also see shrimpanzees, mosquitoast, and a tomato. Just a tomato, nothing special. Tomatoes always get the short end of the stick. Just ask Bob.
But there’s trouble in paradise, as we hear footsteps and see the impact tremors in Brent’s stomach. It took me a few times through to figure out it was a reference to Jurassic Park; for the longest time, I thought it was just his stomach rumbling. Maybe it’s just all the zombie movies that have been coming out lately, but rumbling stomachs and shirts that say “I’ve Got the Brains” should not go together in a movie for kids. Then the monster steps on shore, revealing itself to be a “tacodile supreme!” Because, you know, it looks so much like a crocodile, with the mouth wider than it is long, just like a taco. You really had to stretch to make that pun happen, didn’t you, guys?
“There’s a leek in the boat!” Flint cries. The leek, apparently not realizing he was in a boat until that moment, shrieks in terror as the crew goes over a coconut milk-fall. Flint’s dad fights a pickle with a spear over sardines, and the Flint freaks out when a giant strawberry opens his eyes and reveals that he’s alive. Wait, all these food monsters and the strawberry with anime eyes is the one you’re afraid of? This makes more sense when you realize this scene takes place before the big reveal of the new Swallow Falls, since Sam was holding the strawberry in that scene. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to place it there in the trailer rather than to backtrack all the way here? Oh, and Flint literally “scares the jelly out of him,” according to Earl Devereaux. Because it wouldn’t be a kids’ movie without a poop joke, right?
And the trailer ends with more bad puns, including watermelephants, “totally bananas,” and a cheespider. Oh, and of course, the obligatory “Steve” joke, now with a shrimpanzee. Call me crazy, but everything’s better with Steve. Not necessarily this particular Steve, just anybody named Steve.
So based on the trailer, do I recommend this movie? Eh, sort of. There were a few moments that made me laugh, but the dialogue often felt forced for comedic effect. Nothing in this movie ever felt real, which I realize is a strange thing to say about a movie about foodimals, but if Rise of the Guardians can make me care about Jack Frost and the Sandman, then Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 has no excuse. I know there’s a certain demographic that would enjoy this film; your kids will probably like it, and if you really, really, really really really like puns, congratulations, you are the one percent and they finally made a movie just for you. Take my critique with a grain of salt since I wasn’t a fan of the first movie either, but a friend of mine put it best when she described this film as one you look for in the $5 DVD bin at Wal-Mart. If I ever see this movie, that’s where I’ll be getting it.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is owned by Columbia Pictures.