Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 had some pretty big shoes to fill, and while it definitely tried, it ended up falling short in some areas. Phil Lord and Chris Miller bowed out of directorial duties from the first Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, opting to simply produce its sequel. Consequently, there seem to be obvious places where their influence is missing and needed. The sequel gives viewers an original idea to work with, choosing not to follow the chronology of the original children’s book and its own sequel by author Judi Barrett. The sequel is definitely no stranger to the humor audiences got used to from the first and the animation is just as dazzling as the first, but unfortunately there is not much that is exceptional about this sequel.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 starts off right after the first one, with a food storm forcing the residents of Swallow Falls to leave, while Live Corp – a company where the best inventors in the world create ideas and technologies to improve mankind as well as Earth – cleans the island. Flint is invited by his longtime idol, Chester V, to join the cleanup as well as become an inventor with Live Corp. Once Flint and the gang arrive back at Swallow Falls, they discover that the machine is still operating and has now created an entire ecosystem surrounding itself, including food-animal hybrids referred to as “foodimals.” Flint takes it upon himself to resolve the situation before the new life escapes the island and reaches the mainland.
Most of the main cast from the first Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs has returned to their roles for the sequel, including Bill Hader, Anna Faris, and Andy Samberg. This is definitely helps the sequel feel comfortable for viewers with the knowledge that the returning cast members are enjoying their roles. Additions include Will Forte as Chester V, and Kristen Schaal as Barb, who are both fantastic for their roles. Andy Samberg’s performance stuck out more prominently than his work in the first Cloudy, simply because he seems to have a bit more screen time. Both his voice and personality fit perfectly for his character, and the younger crowds will appreciate his brash naivety.
Aside from Samberg, James Caan also had a more prominent role than the first, as Flint’s father Tim Lockwood. The sequel puts a good amount of focus on Flint and Tim’s father-son relationship that helps gives the characters themselves a little more depth and growth from the first. Will Forte’s addition as the antagonist Chester V definitely felt like the highlight of the film, as his slightly nasal but intelligent-sounding voice fit perfectly for the character.
The cast definitely had a lot of fun, which adds to the enjoyment level of the film, but the sequel does not feel nearly as clever or inventive as the first, especially in the humor department. There are quite a number of food puns, albeit good ones. Many other jokes and gags just seem to be slight rehashes of similar lines from the first, though understandable considering the age group the film is aimed at. The film is filled with dazzling visuals of imaginative food animals and breathtaking environments, perhaps designed to slightly distract the viewer from the bland humor. It will be guaranteed to work for the younger audiences, though the same may not be said for the rest of the fans.
Fans of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs will most likely still appreciate the sequel, though not nearly as much as the first. It felt a little empty following the first film, and not quite as fulfilling overall. Without Phil Lord and Chris Miller in the creative department, it falters at key points that made the first so much more humorous and enjoyable. It’s definitely a great film for younger audiences, and most kids will probably get a kick out of it, but those expecting a little more depth and wit might be a little disappointed this time around.
(But catch it on DVD/Blu-Ray!)