‘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

Dr. Dre is king of hip hop with…

With $620 million in estimated pre-tax earnings, veteran rapper and record producer Dr. Dre topped Forbes list as the highest paid hip hop artist, ousting Sean "Diddy" Combs from the…

News

Bin Laden son-in-law sentenced to life in U.S.…

A seemingly unrepentant Suleiman Abu Ghaith, a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday in New York following his conviction on terrorism charges.

National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Television

Craig Ferguson wants you to see his new…

Craig Ferguson thinks his new game show will become "a comedy show in which a game is played and money is won."

Television

Anthony Anderson on dealing with your 'ish'

Anthony Anderson discusses finding the humor in his "Black-ish" family.

Gossip

Photos: See who Robert Pattinson was caught holding…

Robert Pattinson has a new girlfriend.

The Word

The Word: Kris and Bruce Jenner's predictably public…

They said it wouldn't last — mostly because of that separation almost a year ago. And now, more than a year later, Kris and Bruce…

MLB

Bud Selig honors Derek Jeter as both prepare…

Bud Selig’s 22-year reign as commissioner will end Sunday, and while it’s had its share of negative moments, it also had Derek Jeter.

NFL

Column: Geno Smith not the answer for Jets…

There were highs for Jets quarterback Geno Smith in Monday night’s loss to the Bears and there were incredible lows.

NFL

3 things that went right in Jets loss…

It wasn't the result the Jets wanted, a 27-19 loss to the Bears, but this team deserves some credit.

Sports

Here's the 8 best and worst sporting goodbyes

With Derek Jeter set to retire following the 2014 Major League Baseball season, we look back at some of the great and not-so-great sporting goodbyes.

Home

NYC fall real estate hot list

The upcoming developments and areas everyone's buzzing about.

Style

Milan Fashion Week shows the best of Italian…

Metro rounds up the cut of the collections at Milan Fashion Week.

Tech

The 2014 Maker Faire saw robots, printers and…

Got a broken button maker? There’s a fix for that – and Tony Stanzione of the Fixers’ Collective says he can show you how.

Parenting

First look: Uniqlo's fall/winter 2014 kids collection

Get a sneak peek at Uniqlo's kids and babies fall/winter 2014 line.