Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013, Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn)

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs was one of the previous decade’s underrated gems that just happened to come around in a flush decade for American animation thanks predominantly to the works of Pixar. The law of diminishing returns is preserved with its sequel.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 picks up immediately in the aftermath of the first. Flint and and friends have saved the island from his food-making machine (the FLDSMDFR). Flint’s hero, Chester V, CEO of Live Corp (who shares more than a passing resemblance to Steve Jobs), is asked to clean up the island but it’s a charade, of course, Chester seeks the FLDSMDFR that still exists somewhere on the island which is now producing food-animal hybrids.

Where the first film was a surreal, oddball delight, its sequel is, quite frankly, a little dull. There is a conspicuous lack of jokes and the ones that are there are mostly reserved for animal-food related puns (subwhale, shrimpanzee, tacodiles, etc.) that get a desultory smirk but not much else. The original story was absurd and silly in a brilliant sort of way. The sequel settles for a seen-it-all-before underdog story with absolutely no surprises.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 is a perfect example of a sequel ostensibly doing the same sort of things as the first entry but emphatically missing the mark. The jokes aren’t as funny and all the characters seem less amiable this time around (most of Flint’s gang have very little to actually do). Only the slick presentation is of a similar standard which seems to be par for the course with big budget animation these days.

It’s an obvious attempt to catch lightning in a bottle twice – it doesn’t surprise in the slightest that the sequel is directed by two different people because that’s exactly what it is: a limp, unimaginative aping of a much better film. (4)

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