Starring the voices of: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Terry Crews, Kristen Schaal, Khamani Griffin.
Rated: PG. Animated. Running Time: 1 hour 35 minutes.
My son Ethan (freshly turned 10 on Oct 2nd) had already seen Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, but asked if Maria and I would take him again, which was a very good sign. Having seen the first one, and finding it quite mediocre, I can’t say I was doing cartwheels about going, but we went anyway. The kid was right! Not just better than the original, MUCH better. Flint Lockwood (Hader) invented a machine that turned water into food. In the first movie, everything was going along great on his island hometown of Swallow Falls until the machine runs amok (the food becomes enormous) and has to be shut down. At the beginning of 2, Flint is about to embark on a new business venture with his love interest, meteorologist Sam Sparks (Faris) when we find out the aforementioned machine, is still working in the wilderness and creating horrible “foodimals” that are threatening to overrun the Earth. The residents of Swallow Falls are evacuated to San Franjose, California. Chester V (Forte), inventor, entrepreneur and Flint’s hero, has been enlisted to lead the effort to stop the machine and eventually needs help from Flint and his gang. Also back from the first movie are: Flint’s pet monkey Steve (NPH), his bushy eyebrowed, sardine loving dad Tim (Caan), chicken suit wearing Brent (Samberg), police officer Earl (Crews) and his son Cal (Griffin) and Sam’s cameraman Manny (Bratt). An eclectic group to say the least, Chester sends them back to the island, and this is where the movie really begins. The “foodimals” and food puns steal the show. There are tacodiles, watermelophants, shrimpanzees, bananostriches, and peanut butter and jellyfish, just to name a few. We learn along the way that everything isn’t quite what it seems as pertains to who’s good and bad, but the dialogue flows smoothly and the jokes are clever and aplenty. I had more laugh out loud moments at Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, than I’ve had at any animated movie in a long time.
This was the best animated feature we’ve seen since Wreck-It Ralph, which was released in November of 2012. We’ve seen a slew of forgettable kids movies since then. Like Ross, I wasn’t a fan of the first installment of this series either, but the sequel was awesome! The puns were so bloody brilliant I found myself wishing that I had come up with them myself. We had fun whispering our own bastardizations of the animal, food hybrids before the film identified them. One of our favorite characters was Barry, a live strawberry that Sam Sparks smuggles out of one of the sketchy labs they encounter. This adorable little fruity dude, has some of the most memorable lines and an addictive catch phrase. When he first meets Flint he keeps looking at him and uttering, “En woo.” All three of us had some good laughs and it’s always a good sign when Ethan wants to go see a movie again. The storyline was also well done, incorporating the ground work laid by the first movie while heading in a new, exciting direction with the plot of the second. It reminded me of the flawless transition that was achieved with the classic Toy Story trilogy. I found the overall moral of the story great too. The lesson that Flint had to learn was to appreciate and recognize his real friends. His loyal brood accompanies him to the island and he starts to take their friendship for granted.
I love Bill Hader, he stole the show at the James Franco Roast we watched on Comedy Central recently. He enjoys doing these voice characters, in addition to reprising his Flint Lockwood role, he’s had parts in Ice Age, Monsters University and Turbo. It is Flint’s ambition, awkward genius and eventual growth that is at the center of Meatballs 2. I’m not sure where I’d rank it among my all-time animated favorites, but most definitely would recommend you see it in the theater or when it reaches DVD. So many memorable characters, Maria mentioned the talking strawberry Barry; look for a scene where Barry is interpreting Flint’s speech for the other “foodimals”. Hilarious. I also enjoy Flint’s dad Tim played by James Caan. He has Eugene Levy-like eyebrows, and has his own adventure with some warrior pickles who share his love for sardines. That last line is something isn’t it? So is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, a very pleasant surprise.
I most certainly suggest catching this one in theaters. We skipped the 3-D, which didn’t take anything away from how great it was. I doubt it will be taking best animated feature of the year home (lots more of this genre to come during the holidays!), but the story is uplifting, heartwarming and seriously funny. I believe adults will enjoy this one just as much as the kids!
Ross’ Rating: 4 out of 5 Gummy Bears.
Maria’s Rating: 4.5 Gummies.