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  Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 Battle Royale With Cheese
Year: 2013
Director: Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn
Stars: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Terry Crews, Kristen Schaal, Cody Cameron, Melissa Sturm, Kris Pearn, Craig Kellman, Khamani Griffin, Bridget Hoffman, Al Roker
Genre: Comedy, Animated, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: When Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) was a boy he always wanted to be an inventor, therefore his biggest hero was Chester V (Will Forte), who was an actual inventor, and had created the multi-million selling Food Bar from which he had built an empire. But Flint's ideas, such as spray on shoes, were not exactly roaring successes, until he discovered a way of turning simple water into food with a machine. However, it had all gone horribly wrong when his creation went out of control and started spewing masses of comestibles all over his home village; luckily he managed to save the day, but the island town was ruined. Then Chester arrives with his team and offers Flint a proposition...

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was the first movie, for those who did not follow their television work, that introduced the directing team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller to the wider world. Soon they were masters of all they surveyed in the big screen comedy landscape, but were they prepared to return to the film that had given them their first major exposure for a sequel? Well, sort of, they were on board as producers and contributed to the storyline, but mostly gave over the reins to another team headed by directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, already veterans of the animation scene but uniting for the first time. If there was more of a committee feel this time around, was that such a bad thing?

After all, plenty of successful movies were created that way, but it was true the follow-up, while an inevitability in the field of family cartoons, was not the equal of the inspired and endlessly inventive original. But don't despair, since there was still the vividly coloured silliness of before, it just wasn't quite as laugh out loud funny all the way through, putting across more of a traditional bunch of themes about family and sticking by your friends through thick and thin, you know the drill, self-improving stuff. What Chester, who is an obvious villain from practically his opening scene, is up to isn't hugely important as far as the plot went, it was enough to accept he was the instigator of nefarious plans involving a development on the island that Flint is drawn into.

It's only fair, as Flint kicked the whole crisis off, so after six months toiling in Chester's labs with an army of colleagues, he is invited to return to the island and try to shut down the still-active machine if he can find it. Exactly why the super-efficient Chester needed Flint to do this at all when he could have had someone less disruptive do it is left unexplained, though we had to have the hero and his pals get back into the action somehow, so when they arrive back on the island they find a surprise: it's infested with food. Not any old food, but foodimals, a cross between comestibles and living creatures, which Flint believes must be gotten rid of in line with Chester's reasoning, that is until his meteorologist girlfriend Sam (Anna Faris) has other ideas.

Actually, the island is not so much overrun with these beasts as it is with rampant punning, so you get flamangoes and mosquitoasts and the formidable cheesespider to contend with, more groan-inducing than hilarious. But Cloudy 2 has its heart in the right place, which appears to be a conservation message combining a respect for nature's denizens and a responsibility for taking care of any environmental disasters mankind might inflict on the planet. Then again, a curious reluctance about eating the food arises when most of it is so friendly and even cute, leaving you wondering well, what should we be eating if the plants as well as the animals deserve such sympathy? The film never gets over this sticking point, instead trying to divert attention away from such consumer problems with a more laboured theme about Chester's self-interest bred by his bullied childhood and Flint overcoming that by building on his new pals' assistance. Better than many an animated sequel, this may not be too memorable, but it entertained in a fair imitation of the original. Music by Mark Mothersbaugh.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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