When I saw the trailer for the first installment of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, my instant thought was ‘You have got to be kidding me.’ A film about food raining down from the sky was the weirdest and wackiest concept I’d ever seen. But the film was good. It left me hungry for more. And now Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is the cherry on the cake. Filled with all the humour of its predecessor, and even more food puns, those who enjoyed the first film will be delighted to sink their teeth into this colourful, fun second-helping.
Starting immediately after the first film finishes, young inventor, Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) is recruited to work for his childhood hero, Chester V (Will Forte), while Chester’s crew clean up the food left on Swallow Falls. However, their attempts mysteriously fail, so Flint is forced to return to Swallow Falls with his girlfriend Sam (Anna Faris), his friend Brent (Andy Samberg), his dad (James Caan) and police chief Earl (Terry Crews), where they find that their home is now a vast food jungle infested by living food animals, or ‘foodimals’. So they must brave the jungle to find Flint’s food-making invention and shut it down for good. Piece of cake, right?
As you can probably guess, the fun of this film lies in the countless food jokes. Whether there’s a living, screaming leek in the boat, or the gang are being attacked by taco-diles and shrimp-panzees, you can tell the writers must have had a great laugh dreaming all these creatures up. Sony Pictures Animation does an amazing job of bringing these puns to life, making all the characters, no matter how fierce or evil, shine with a fun, colourful spark. The film is visually scrumptious, and manages to make even marshmallows and strawberries painfully adorable.
What I think makes this film a cut above all the other kids films out there is the fact that it’s a kids film that mocks the idea of a kids film. Everything is over-the-top fun, enthusiastic and innocent, and then Lonely Island star Andy Samberg and Bill Hader, who have mostly stared in films that children should not watch, are drafted in to do the voices. It’s a twisted, mocking way to add humour, and it works brilliantly! The characters are all voiced perfectly, although it is a shame that Mr.T could not reprise his role as Earl. Newcomer Kristen Schaal, who voices an orangutan with a human brain called Barb, is perfect for her role, and the few lines that Neil Patrick Harris does for Flint’s pet monkey, Steve, never fail to cause laughter.
Not to say that this film is perfect, of course. It is rather predictable, as most kids films are, and the conflicts that arise within it are solved far too quickly. But I doubt that this will completely jam the film’s enjoyability. It may be cheesy and bananas, but it’s still a sweet thing to go see. You’d be nuts not to give it a go. And when, after it’s finished, your friend turns to you and says ‘Orange you glad we saw that?’, I’m sure you’ll relish the fact that it was better than you egg-spected.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013), directed by Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, is released in cinemas in the UK by Columbia Pictures, certificate PG.