By Anna Meurer
Last Friday, I took advantage of GAC’s Movies on Us night and ventured out to see what the Theatres of Georgetown had to offer. In desperate need of a good laugh and having read, seen and loved the first movie, I decided to give “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” a shot. Directed by Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, the movie was definitely designed to capitalize on the strengths of the first but fell short of its predecessor. The film relied less on the clever quips and endearing characters that made the first so enjoyable and instead opted for exaggeration, an unimaginative plot and continuous puns.
“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” was based on a book of the same name, but the sequel does not continue the trend and is instead the product of its creators’ imaginations. The film picks up where the first left off, with the return of eccentric inventor Flint’s (Bill Hader) food-making machine, the FLDSMDFR. Alongside his group of friends including girlfriend Sam (Anna Faris), father Tim (James Caan), Officer Earl (Terry Crews), Manny (Benjamin Bratt), Brent (Andy Samberg) and pet monkey Steve (Neil Patrick Harris), Flint must venture back to his island home to once again deal with the consequences of the machine. Once they arrive, they find the island overrun with “foodimals,” including shrimpanzees, watermelephants, tacodiles and talking strawberries.
In order to keep the plot from sounding too rehashed (spoiler alert), the directors introduced a new villain, Chester V (Will Forte), who is determined to use the foodimals to further his nutrition bar empire. Staying true to the classical children’s movie plotline, Flint aids Chester, eventually realizes that he was wrong about the foodimals, attempts to change his mind, is thwarted by Chester, and then eventually triumphs in a final battle with the help of his new and old friends. End story.
And this is where the film failed to live up to expectations. While the first movie was cute and fairly predictable, it also had elements of an original plot, one that took a different path to the classic happy ending. That creative spark was sadly absent in the sequel.
Likewise, the characters lost their spark as well. A strong children’s character has defining features, usually humorous (Flint’s typing, Tim’s monobrow, etc.) but is not only defined by them. The first movie balanced this quite nicely, but the second seemed to forget that its actors should be characters first and stereotypes second, attempting to make a point every other line in order to draw a laugh from the audience. Funny quirks should be for comic relief, not comic assault.
That being said, it was funny at several parts, especially with the blatant use of pun humor, and undeniably adorable. Seriously, just look up Barry the Strawberry. Adorable.
All in all, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” was a nice break from the real world but not particularly memorable. My verdict would be to watch it on Netflix in six months. Hey, it might be a children’s movie, but even (especially) college kids need a dose of laughter and adorableness every once in a while.