After the events of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs literally rained giant food down on the residents of Swallow Falls, the sequel sees all residents of the tiny island town being temporarily relocated to San Franjose, California. Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) is given a job at the Live Corp Company, which has been tasked with cleaning up Swallow Falls. However, months later when Lockwood discovers his famous machine from the first film is still operational and churning out food-animal hybrids he must return to Swallow Falls with his friends to set things right.
In 2009, co-directors/writers Phil Lord and Chris Miller managed to do the same thing with Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs that they just did with the recently released LEGO Movie: make a visually inventive animated film featuring the perfect mix of broad humor for the kids and verbal, meta jokes for the adults. They also crammed Cloudy full of fun but bizarre imagery which wouldn’t have been completely out of place in a David Lynch film. Unfortunately, Lord and Miller only served as Executive Producers for Cloudy 2, which was directed by Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn from a script written by a former TV writer (Erica Rivinicoa) and the guys (John Frances Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein) who wrote Horrible Bosses and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. The result is an unfortunately inferior product with a barely-realized story and precious little material for anyone not swayed by an endless parade of food-animal puns.
It doesn’t start that way, though. After an opening montage recapping the events of Cloudy 1, the sequel picks up exactly where we left off with Flint and crew bonded over their terrifying ordeal. Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, and Neil Patrick Harris all effortlessly fall back into character, joined this time by Terry Crews replacing Mr. T as the voice of Earl, the cop. Flint’s new job at the Live Corp Company is used to enjoyably poke fun at a Apple/Google-like corporation run by Flint’s idol Chester V (Will Forte).
Flint tries out all sorts of crazy new creations to stand out from the crowd, the film mostly focusing on his idea of an instant party in a box which erupts glitter, music, and paint at the press of a button. However, before long the story transitions to more of a Lost World: Jurassic Park-like plot where Flint and the gang have to return to the island which has now been overrun by sentient food-animal hybrids dubbed “foodimals.”
It’s at this point the film’s true target audience becomes apparent, as one of the very first jokes back on the island features Earl cutting vines made of cheese blocking their entrance only for the vines to emit a fart-like noise once cut to which he proclaims, “That wasn’t me.” This sets the tone for pretty much the entirety of the rest of the film, which seems to have been concocted by the writers as “Let’s do The Lost World, but have the dinosaurs all be food-animals with funny names.” So, we get Taco-diles, Apple Pie-thons, Hippotato, etc. If that type of humor doesn’t cut it for you then look elsewhere because that’s pretty much all this movie has to offer. None of the characters beyond Flint get much to do, not even Anna Faris’ Sam Sparks, who was used so delightfully as a closeted-smart person in Cloudy 1. A lackey of Chester V’s voiced by Kristen Schaal probably has the most dynamic character arc of anyone.
However, as an animated film targeted at a younger audience there’s little to dislike about Cloudy 2, which is visually arresting, never drags, has plenty of low-brow humor to keep the kids laughing, and ultimately preaches a message of valuing family and friendship as well as not rejecting things just because they look different. It’s just that there isn’t much to latch onto here for older audiences. That doesn’t make Cloudy 2 bad; it just meant I was probably too old to really enjoy it.
Buy It – Stream/Rent It – Skip It – Stream/Rent It for the kids; Skip It for yourself