If you had told me that a slapstick animated comedy based on a very short children’s book from the 70s would end up being awesome, I would have removed my lips from the bong and said “No way, man. Wooah, food weather? Dope!” Or something like that. But lo and behold, it was indeed very awesome. Because money, a sequel got approved. While it’s not a delicious as the original, it still has a pretty satisfying flavor (SEE WHAT I DID THERE).
Picking up literally moments after the conclusion of the original film, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 finds boy genius Flint Lockwood and his friend Sam Sparks making plans to build their own laboratory in which to
live work together (because this is a kid’s movie, damn it). Suddenly, Flint and his friends are visited by the intrepid inventor Chester V., Flint’s childhood hero and some sort of bastard combination of Steve Jobs and Dr. Venture. Chester V. offers to help clean up Swallow Falls. Like most scientists with pointy beards and obscure initials, however, Chester V. is up to no good, and intends to steal Flint’s now though-to-be-defeated food-creation machine, the FLDSMDFR, to get rich under the guise of taking them to the island to deactivate it. Meanwhile, the machine has advanced to the point of literally creating sentient, living creatures made of food.
Henceforth, I will refer to the movie as CWACOM2, because fuck you if I’m going to spell it out every time.
CWACOM2 deserves lots of accolades for its madly inventive food-based puns and creative foodimals. From Shrimpanzees to the Tacodile Supreme, the movie is full of more har-har food jokes than a Rachael Ray special. Even apart from those fusion animals, there are other tasty jokes: there is, of course, that golden “there’s a leek in the boat!” as well as a number of other very silly lines.
The main source of the laughs, however, comes from the extremely strong animation. Not since the original CWACOM has there been a movie so boisterously energetic, so unabashedly silly in its operation. This is a movie in which a character types on a computer by smacking his hands across the keys. Chester V behaves not unlike those crazy arm-flapping giant dude guys from car dealerships; his myriad devious monologues are never without rampant arm twisting and hand folding. Many shots are loaded with background visual gags. Chester V.’s trademark symbol is a hexagon, and this manifests in everything from hexagon-shaped coffee cups to Chester’s fingers forming a hexagonal shape when he’s in a meditation pose.
While the first film is something I could legitimately call “fucking hilarious,” CWACOM2 is slightly less so, if only because it’s quite a bit more juvenile. The script, too, is not nearly as much fun. This is surprising, coming from the writers of Horrible Bosses, but they go from f-bombs and dick jokes as far in the other direction as possible. The food puns are all great, but apart from that silliness this has all of the trappings of a run-of-the-mill children’s animated comedy. There are certainly moments of cleverness in the script: while the audience if clued in from the get-go that Chester V. is a dick, but his evil device secretly meant to control the FLDSMDFR is referred to as a “BS USB.” Still, those jokes aren’t as frequent as they could be, and the movie does admittedly drag here and there.
While it pales in comparison to the shockingly excellent original film, CWACOM2 is still a pretty damn clever and extremely flashy animated movie. The script does suffer in comparison to the original, and is particularly disappointing in comparison to Horrible Bosses, but it’s hard to heavily fault a movie that has the most adorable sentient strawberry (named Barry!) you’ve ever seen. It helps that the movie moves at a brisk pace and rarely fails to be amusing. It’s not the gem that the first movie was, but it’s still a good amount of fun, and you could do worse for a family animated comedy.
Do a Shot: Every time a character with obscured eyes shows his eyes.
Take a Drink: Any time a character’s body does something the human body shouldn’t normally be able to do.
Take a Drink: For every hexagon.
Take a Drink: For every cup of coffee Flint drinks.
Chug Your Beer: For the Party in a Box