‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2′ is like a dream you instantly forget

There's apparently a giant burger in "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2." Credit: Sony Pictures
There’s a giant burger in “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.”
Credit: Sony Pictures

‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2’
Directors: Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn
Voices of: Bill Hader, Will Forte
Rating: PG
2 (out of 5) Globes

Animated films are usually surreal spectacles — logic-defying sights often filled with animals, space aliens or even inanimate objects speaking English and carrying on like everyday people. With its anarchic narrative and overflowing, 3D-enhanced visuals, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” practically leaps from being surreal to straight-up phantasmagoric.

The sequel to the loose, freewheeling 2009 adaptation of the 1978 children book expands on the food-falling-from-the-sky motif, turning items of consumption into living, breathing (and mostly adorable) creatures. That’s what the manic, continually awestruck Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) — inventor of the food-replicating machine that covered his hometown in edible weather — and his friends discover when they go back to their deserted hamlet and find it inundated with so-called foodimals: mutant, hybrid foodstuffs such as flamangos, watermelophants, apple-piethons, wildebeets and so on.

Nearly all the voice cast from the first show up to reprise their roles. (Terry Crews steps in to voice the agile Officer Devereaux, since original voice Mr. T was, um, doing something else important?) Now that they’ve moved up to directing real people since helming last year’s “21 Jump Street,” original writer-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are replaced by animation vets Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, with screenwriting duo John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (“Horrible Bosses”) and TV writer Erica Rivinoja (“South Park”) handling script duties.

Whereas the first was something of a nutty, passable romp, the second virtually stirs itself up to a spastic, repetitive, immobile flurry. As much as the movie goes about dispensing brief flashes of oddball joy, it’s also aesthetically running in place. Instead of adapting “Pickles to Pittsburgh,” the actual, 1997 follow-up to “Meatballs,” this movie goes for a “Jurassic Park/Avatar” retread/mashup, full of incessantly punny gags (there’s not one, but two bits involving people declaring the presence of an actual leek in their mode of transportation) that makes it seem like the script got a polish from Carrot Top.

The central conflict of the film — where Lockwood finds himself being influenced/manipulated by a powerful, nefarious super-inventor (Will Forte) instead of his family and friends — not only resembles the conflict from the first movie, but nearly every animated feature that comes out these days. It’s ironic — and a bit hilarious — to find the notoriously cutthroat movie industry using animated kiddie films to teach children how to honor and respect those who’ll always have your back.

But that’s another instance of how much of a ludicrous, ultimately hollow dreamworld “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” is. And, just like with most dreams, it’s a vivid, virtually nonsensical trip that you’ll most likely end up forgetting a lot of once you step back into the real world.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.