Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
dir Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn
prd Kirk Bodyfelt
scr John Francis Daley, Jonathan M Goldstein, Erica Rivinoja
voices 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
release US 27.Sep.13, UK 25.Oct.13
13/US Sony 1h35
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
It's alive! Sam and Flint with a scary new friend

hader faris caan
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 A new handful of filmmakers take over for this high-energy sequel, focussing on the wacky humour. The comedy is far too post-modern this time to truly engage us, but it's such a riot of colourful mayhem that we're never bored. And the deranged jokes are so frequent that we never stop chuckling.

In the wake of the food storm, young inventor Flint (voiced by Hader) is thrilled that his idol Chester (Forte), head of the uber-cool monolithic Live Corp, is put in charge of the clean-up. But Chester clearly wants Flint's invention, so evacuates the island's population and offers Flint a job. Now living in San Franjose, California, Flint, his pals (Faris' weathergirl, Samberg's surfer dude, Bratt's cameraman and Crews' supercop) and his dad (Caan) learn that the mutant food on their island has come alive and is threatening the world. So they stage a rescue mission.

Unlike the first film, this nutty adventure doesn't have much in the way of subtext, unless you read Chester's use of ramped-up paranoia as War on Terror propaganda. But that's pushing it. The biggest social comment here is Live Corp itself, an Apple/Google mash-up with a Colonel Sanders frontman and a sinister undercurrent. Intriguingly, the film's best character is Chester's brainy-baboon sidekick Barb (Schaal), the only person who has a story arc.

Otherwise the chief focus is the pun-filled food creatures, including tacodiles, shrimpanzees and watermelephants. Yes, the island has become a teeming Jurassic Park-style explosion of chaotic jungle life, rendered by skilled animators with buckets of colour and texture. The script is packed with hilarious one-liners that often make us laugh out loud. And the voice cast dive in fully, creating vivid characters who are silly and entertaining.

But everything is so self-referential that it never gets under our skin. It just keeps us entertained with the nonstop action and wildly eclectic humour. Which isn't a bad thing. At least the script is sophisticated enough to engage both kids and adults, and some of the 3D imagery has an inspired fantasy quality. But it's so freewheeling and goofy that nothing really sticks this time. And like the film's startlingly un-imaginative title, the movie itself feels rather forgettable.

cert u themes, vulgarity 18.Oct.13

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