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Video Reviews

Plugged In Rating
Content Caution
MPAA Rating
Credits
Genre
Comedy, Animation, Kids
Cast
Voices of Bill Hader as Flint Lockwood; Anna Faris as Sam Sparks; James Caan as Tim Lockwood; Will Forte as Chester V; Terry Crews as Earl Devereaux; Benjamin Bratt as Manny; Andy Samberg as Brent McHale
Director
Cody Cameron (Open Season 3) and Kris Pearn
Distributor
Columbia Pictures
In Theaters
September 27, 2013
On Video
January 28, 2014
Reviewer
Bob Hoose
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

It took a long time for Flint Lockwood's special kind of genius to be fully recognized. His spray-on shoes and ratbirds were, shall we say, underappreciated inventions. But then came his Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator.

That was a breakthrough. Who else but Flint could come up with a device so extraordinary that it could end world hunger? Seriously. All you have to do is pour a little tap water into the top of the machine and out comes delicious chow at the bottom!

It's incredible. Fantastic. Stupendous. Well, it was until everything went a bit haywire. Next thing you know, Flint's island hometown of Swallow Falls gets buried under a catastrophic avalanche of gigantic ice cream-covered pancakes and a downpour of gravy with sky-high hamburgers and mountains of mashed potatoes on the side. Sigh.

Flint's left to clean up the mess in disgrace.

Out of the blue, however, Flint's lifelong hero, the fabulous scientist Chester V, offers his help in cleaning up the island and even relocating the island's residents until the work is done. And he wants Flint to join his LiveCorp company—a place where the best and brightest inventors in the world create technologies for the BETTERMENT OF MANKIND!

Woo-hoo!

Flint can't believe it. His pretty meteorologist girlfriend, Sam, can be proud of him again. His dad doesn't need to hang his head in shame. And his friends can admit they know him without fear of ending up with egg on their faces.

Literally.

But just when things are looking up for the young inventor, that disastrous food machine drags him back down once again. It's not out of commission like they thought. And now it's churning out food/animal atrocities that are threatening to swim to the mainland and ATTACK HUMANITY!

There's only one thing to do: find the wacky invention and shut it down for good. Flint's just hoping that when he faces off with all those tacodiles, shrimpanzees and apple piethons, he's not biting off more than he can chew.

Positive Elements

Picking up where the first Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs left off, Flint and his dad are still struggling a bit with their communication skills. But they definitely find it easier to believe that they have each other's back this time. Dad encourages his depressed son, lending a hand and vocal support. (Flint repays the favor.)

Flint and Sam have also grown closer, and we see them demonstrating an unwavering commitment to each other, laying out plans for a business (and romantic) partnership. As they get into the thick of this movie's trouble and travail, Flint, Sam and their friends—Manny, Brent and Earl—all fight to keep one another safe.

Even though Chester V tries to split up Flint and Brent with a Chinese proverb about distrusting enemies, Sam counters with a Chinese proverb of her own that says former enemies can be the basis for the most long-lasting bonds. In fact, it's that kind of earnest bond that teaches us about how trust and friendship are precious commodities that must be earned and valued.

[Spoiler Warning] We eventually find out that Chester V is plotting to wipe out the various foodimal family groups on Shallow Falls for his own profit. Sam points out that they should study the new creatures rather than destroy them, and she and Flint fight to make that possible.

Spiritual Content

The movie makes a subtle spiritual statement about how all of the foodimals that now populate Swallow Falls need their creator to survive—namely Flint's food replicator. Once the machine is turned off, the living food populace begins to die out.

Chester V and several of his employees use the spiritually themed Hindi salutation namaste.

Sexual Content

Flint and Sam share a light kiss on a couple of occasions.

Violent Content

Broad cartoonish tumbles and pratfalls are the order of the day. We see Flint's dad being subjected to a number of his son's explosive and thumping inventions. Flint and his friends trade slaps to faces while trying to splat some annoying insects.

A number of large foodimals roar and chase after the good guys (in something of a Jurassic Park send-up), which results in lots of sprayed cheese, special sauce and scattered bits of lettuce. But ultimately we find out that the living food creatures are all friendly and relatively tame. In fact, the foodimals later team up with Flint and his pals to battle against a group of robot-suited attackers. (The robot-suits sport ray guns that freeze humans and foodimals in blocks of ice.)

[Spoiler Warning] Chester V is eaten by a large cheeseburger creature with French fry legs, labeled a cheesespider.

Crude or Profane Language

At worst, several uses each of the exclamations "darn" and "omigosh." We hear "crapballs" and "oh, fudge." A fake flash drive is called a "BSUSB."

Drug and Alcohol Content

While working on their many inventions for LiveCorp., the employee scientists are encouraged to stay buzzed with a steady and free supply of caffeine.

Other Negative Elements

Numerous gags—including a monkey using a "brown crayon," someone producing a flatulent sound while cutting cheese, a cow getting surprised while giving birth to its calf, a living strawberry spurting jam in a fearful moment and a dad getting hit in the crotch by a softball—all make their, uh, lowball stab at humor throughout the pic.

Conclusion

Early on in this movie, one of Flint's fellow scientists/inventors at the LifeCorp facility invents a car that can run on "cute." Just pop a cuddly big-eyed kitten in your tank and, voilà, you're ready to roll.

Well, if some inventor could actually create a cute-mobile in the real world, then movies like this one would keep us motoring along for some time to come. This sequel is nothing if not silly and sweetly (quirkily) cute. Even the big corporate bad guys in this tall-corn tale have an abundance of idiosyncratic fun working in their favor.

Spread across that crispy surface like mayo on toasted rye are lessons about turning past enemies into lifelong pals, an encouragement to save animals of all stripes, sizes and flavors, and some solid arm-around-the-shoulder dad and son moments.

The only figurative bruised banana here (unapeeling moments, if you will) is a light barrage of thump-to-the-crotch, cut-the-cheese humor.

Which makes me think … that if somebody could invent an engine that ran on both cute and farts, well, animated kid flicks could solve our energy crisis permanently.

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