Repetitive bland comedy, no innovation in ‘Meatballs’ sequel

Bill Hader returns with Andy Samberg and Anna Farris to voice the colorful world of “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.”  (Photo provided by itsartmag.com)
Bill Hader returns with Andy Samberg and Anna Farris to voice the colorful world of “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.” (Photo provided by itsartmag.com)

The first “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs” was a surprise success back in 2009, capturing audiences with its fun premise and likable characters. Now the sequel has come, picking up exactly where the last one left off. If you haven’t seen the first one, don’t worry — the major plot points of the first film will be explained in a voiceover narration by the film’s protagonist, Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader, “Saturday Night Live”).

After destroying his machine and saving his hometown, Flint is recruited by Chester V (voiced by Will Forte, “Saturday Night Live”) to come work at Live Corp. Chester V was a Bill Nye the Science Guy-type with his own children’s television show. It was this television show that inspired Flint to become a scientist, so Chester V is understandably his hero.

After six months of failure at Live Corp, Flint is recruited to go back to his hometown and clean up the mess his machine made. It’s not only making it rain giant food, it is also creating food-based animals, the deadliest of which is a cheesepider, a cheeseburger with french fry legs. With the help of his friends, he has to find where his machine is and stop it from creating these strange food animals.

From that point on, the movie is pretty standard in its plot and message. While the food animals are fun and interesting to see, the overall plot is familiar territory. It’s predictable to the last moment, leaving the viewers with little to look forward to that they can’t already see coming.

With such a talented voice cast of comedic actors, a lot more laughs were expected than what was given. The first movie had a wonderful mix of genuine and slapstick humor, while this time around they recycle most of the jokes used in the first one. There are a few chuckles, but never anything uproarious or hilarious like you would expect.

Ultimately, this is a children’s movie and children will enjoy it. The food animals are fun, it has humor they would most likely find funny, and cute moments they’ll enjoy. There just isn’t much to make this movie attractive to adults. There is subtle humor slipped in for the enjoyment of parents forced to watch this with their kids.

The bar for animated movies has been raised in recent years with studios like Pixar and Dreamworks bringing original and heartwarming movies that the whole family can enjoy and “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2” is not holding to that standard.

While it has its charms and a few laughs, “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2” is predictable and too reliant on jokes that went well in the first one. It has nothing new to bring to the table and its message of sticking by your friends is better conveyed in other movies of the genre. Its plot basically boils down to “Avatar” with food and half the running time. And like most sequels, it does not live up to its predecessor.

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