I completely and unabashedly loved the first Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movie. As someone that grew up with the book as one of my favorite stories, I really thought that I was going to get super angry that they changed the basic premise from the food just being this weird natural occurrence to one that was the result of a goofy scientist. However, the movie was so entirely dedicated to its own stupid premise that it looped back around again to being highly enjoyable. This time around I knew nothing of the plot outside of the fact that there were going to be a shitload of animal/food puns and, really, that’s all I need.
The first CwaCoM (pronounced quack-um) didn’t really have a central villain so much as it was a man vs. nature disaster film type movie. This time we get an actual antagonist to root against in the form of Chester V, a combination of Mr. Wizard and Steve Jobs. Really the comparison of Live Corp in the movie to Apple is just blatant. I love that they were entirely willing to make an Apple-esque company and then be like “Hey this company is super hip and smart and loved by nerds. Also it steals ideas from people and is an evil corporation that only cares about making money.” So Chester V wants to steal the food making mcguffin from the first film that is now making sentient food on the island and our hero Flint Lockwood is torn between following his childhood idol or sticking with his friends and doing what is best for the food-creatures.
I won’t lie, if the idea of food based puns doesn’t do it for you, you should probably give this movie a pass since that is where the vast majority of the comedy is going to come from. To be fair, though, they are really good food puns. Most of the other comedy in the film is going to be more slapstick type comedy where an invention blows up in someone’s face Loony Tunes style. The exaggerated style of the animation really helps to make the whole movie shine. There are plenty of visual gags but you don’t end up running any of the various jokes into the ground. While the actual plot is mostly just there as an excuse to do Jurassic Park: The Lost World but with food animals, it does at least keep the action moving from one interesting set piece to another.
The focus of the movie tends to be on the importance of friendship and not thinking only of yourself. The first movie’s ideas of the difficulty of a father and son bonding and that girls shouldn’t be afraid to show their intellectual side are still sort of present but put on a back burner. The father actually ends up being in an entirely separate little side plot until towards the end and Sam Sparks (the main female lead from the first) is relegated to generally telling Flint that he is being an idiot. While the actual message of the movie might be much “safer” than the first, it at least isn’t a backslide on what was originally put forth. It also has the general conceit that eating the food animals would be a horrible thing to do (Chester V’s big plan being to grind them down into food bars) which makes for a fairly prominent vegetarian ideal running throughout.
In all, I don’t think I enjoyed Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 as much as I did the first but it was very close. I give the movie a 4 out of 5 and definitely recommend it to anyone that still chuckles at stupid jokes and loves the idea of Neal Patrick Harris as a monkey that says “Steve” a lot.