As if a story about a machine making it rain hotdogs and ice cream weren’t silly enough, the team behind 2009’s “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” is back with a sequel that’s even sillier than the first one.
But, like its predecessor, the silliness is all good-natured and just clever enough to make you chuckle, not groan.
“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2” begins right where the last one leaves off, literally. Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) and Sam Sparks (voiced by Anna Faris) break from their post-foodstorm kiss and start to plan how to rebuild, but are interrupted by the arrival of Flint’s childhood science hero, Chester V (voiced by Will Forte).
Chester and his crew of orange-vested “Thinquinauts” tell the people of Swallow Falls that because of the food debris, they will be relocated until their island has been cleaned up — and he also offers Flint a job at his company, Live Corp.
Six months later, Flint is hard at work inventing things for Live Corp, but gets passed over for a big promotion. His hope is restored, though, when Chester approaches him about going back to the island to shut off the machine, which has somehow survived and is now creating “foodimals” — animals made out of food — that could threaten the rest of the globe if they learned how to swim.
Flint sets off with Sam, his father (voiced by James Caan), cameraman Manny (voiced by Benjamin Bratt), policeman Earl (voiced by Terry Crews), former bully Brent (voiced by Andy Samberg) and, of course, his right-hand monkey Steve (voiced by Neil Patrick Harris) to take back their island.
But what had once been a friendly town is now a veritable jungle filled with the likes of shrimpanzees, cantalopes, susheep, piethons and watermelephants. Danger lurks at every turn, whether from the ferocious fry-legged cheeseburger spider or the vicious tacodile supreme — but Chester’s ulterior motives might pose a greater threat to the gang.
I liked the first movie. I liked the attention to detail, the action in the background during dialogue, the slapstick jokes underwritten with sophisticated humor and the obvious fun everyone involved had making it.
Everything I liked about it has been carried on, and in some cases, advanced in the sequel. Even Steve’s role as the monkey, whose thoughts are translated, is joined here by the cuddly strawberry Barry and Chester V’s ape assistant, Barb (voiced by Kristen Schaal). (Stay through the first round of credits for a quick bonus scene with Barb and Steve.)
And the movie is sillier than the first one. The pun “There’s a leek in the boat!” is used not once but twice. Flint’s father befriends a group of sardine-loving pickles. Brent goes from wearing a giant roasted chicken to dressing as a rubber chicken. The term “shrimpanzees” is said with a straight face, for crying out loud. But it all manages to be fun and engaging, or at least I — and the hundred or so kids packed into the theater with me — thought so.
The only real place it trips is with Flint and Chester. The movie again relies on Flint’s bullied past and desire to fit in, and Chester uses basically the same kinds of arguments and manipulations as Mayor Shelbourne in the first movie, but when that’s the movie’s low point, it says pretty good things about the rest of it.
Time: 95 minutes