‘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
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…