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HomeBlogPopcorn Parent Movie ReviewsFamily Movie Review: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (PG)

Family Movie Review: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (PG)

Perhaps you remember the original “Meatballs”: Geeky Flint (voiced by Bill Hader, of “Turbo”), living on the island Chewandswallow, invented a machine—the Flint Lockwood Diatomic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator, or FLDSMDFR—that could create food out of water. The machine went awry, of course, creating a giant weather storm that pelted meatballs at the island after the greedy and obese mayor got his hands on it. But Flint eventually disarmed the machine; got with his crush, weather girl Sam (Anna Faris, of “The Dictator”); and earned the respect of his skeptical father, Tim (James Caan). Victory for nerds everywhere!

And so “Meatballs 2” picks up right after the first film ended, as Chewandswallow is still recovering from the chaos of FLDSMDFR and Flint is still reeling from his success. Into all that activity swoops Chester V (Will Forte, of “Grown Ups 2”), a scientist whose TV appearances and overall fame impress Flint. Plus, he seems like a good guy, offering not only to help clean up Chewandswallow but to employ Flint at his company LIVE Corp, transporting the young scientist, Sam, his father, and their friends to headquarters San FranJose. Everything’s working out for Flint—well, except for that Chester has an evil plan involving the FLDSMDFR, and he wants Flint to go back to Chewandswallow and retrieve the invention.

There are two problems with that directive, though. First, Flint doesn’t know where it is. And second, the island is now totally overrun with mutant foodstuffs, which have evolved to be self-aware—and somewhat predatory. It’s like “Jurassic Park,” but with cheeseburgers with French fry legs and wild beets instead of raptors or pterodactyls. Can Flint keep himself and his friends and family safe? And if all the food hybrids aren’t evil—some of them are downright cute—is Chewandswallow worth saving?

Perhaps I’ve made the plot seem weightier than it is, because “Meatballs 2” is not a particularly dense or even impactful movie. It jumps from idea to idea and food item to food item, creating a barrage of colors and jokes and 3-D effects. For children, this may be overwhelming in a good way; for adults, pay attention to the pun-heavy script and you’ll enjoy yourself. From the shrimpanzees to the hippotatoes to the apple piethons, you can tell directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn and screenwriters Erica Rivinoja, John Francis Daley, and Jonathan Goldstein had a fun time coming up with these. And even though the jokes are as silly as lines like “There’s a leek in the boat!” (delivered not just once, but twice), there’s an easy flow to the humor.

Not everything else is so successful, though. The animation looks herky-jerky, and the 3-D is for the most part unnecessary. The story inserts various subplots, like Flint again questioning his relationship with his father, to pad out the film length, but they generally drag. And overall, the film’s theme seems in contrast to the first “Meatballs,” which seemed to warn against tampering with the environment for our own personal gain. In this film, the animal/fruit hybrids, which are created because of Flint’s recklessness with the FLDSMDFR device, are worth saving. Why the change in philosophy? (And it’s unfortunate that the original ending given in Judi and Ron Barrett’s book, “Pickles in Pittsburgh,” isn’t mentioned; in the novel, all the excess food was given to hungry communities.)

But kids aren’t going to get that deep with this movie, and it’s unfortunate that “Meatballs 2” really makes no attempt to go there. Instead, it contents itself with miring viewers in a brightly envisaged whirlwind of groan-inducing humor. “Meatballs 2” won’t fill your soul.

Enjoy reading this review? Check out our roundup of what other films are opening this week.

Interested in a previously released film? Read our reviews of films already showing in your local theater.

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