Your kids might like 95 minutes worth of malicious cartoon food, terrible puns and a lesson in the importance of friendship.
You'll be done at the 45 minute mark, moms and dads, but they didn't make this movie for you. Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 is a frantic sequel to the frantic original movie about a young inventor and renegade food.
Earnest inventor Flint Lockwood (voice of Bill Hader) returns to the story with his cheering section: his fisherman dad (James Caan); his scientist/weather girl sweetheart Sam (Anna Faris); Sam's cameraman (Benjamin Bratt); and officer Earl (Terry Crews)
And, of course, Flint's rude monkey, Steve (Neil Patrick Harris).
The movie begins with a recap of Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, showing how Flint created a machine that turned rainwater into food.
It all went haywire, of course, and a storm turned his island town into a food disaster area -- a disaster of epic portions. (Food. Portions. Get it???!!!)
The new story begins with Flint's hero, a scientist named Chester V (Will Forte), offering Flint a job. Flint is a fledgling inventor and it's his lifelong dream to work for Chester V at Live Corp, so he's thrilled.
In fact, our hero has been duped. Chester V wants to find Flint's food machine and use it for his own nefarious purposes. And Live Corp is a terrible Silicon Valley-esque place full of new age fakery.
When Flint and his posse return to the island to find the machine, they encounter wonderful food monsters that have sprung up in the absence of humans. These creatures are featured in the trailer, which means you may well have already seen the movie's highlights -- the roaring Tacodile, pesky flying Mosquitoasts, fruity Flamangoes, and Shrimpanzees. There are lots of nods and winks to Jurassic Park when Flint and his friends encounter the food/animal hybrids; in general, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs is a tad too keen about its own pop culture references, most of which will sail right over the heads of its junior audience. (The movie also involves talking pickles and strawberries and a stoner vibe that's kind of irritating, but ... maybe that's just us.)
On the plus side, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 has a very humorous soundtrack (again from Mark Mothersbaugh) and some wonderful visual gymnastics and jokes.
The CG animation fits the fast and furious themes -- everything here is loud and jokey and in-your-face -- and it's a 3D movie, too, so it's bound to keep kids amused.
Accompanying adults can wonder why a chance to comment on fast food and contemporary eating habits got watered down into meaningless silly puns.