Twitter Plot Summary: Flint Lockwood returns to his home island to stop the FLDSMDFR, which is creating foodimals.
Five Point Summary:
1. Hmm, looks a bit Apple-esque.
2. Hah, King Kong reference.
3. Food puns galore!
4. The inevitable realisation that all is not well.
5. Monkey done good.
Despite its premise, the first Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs was an enjoyable film. It was inherently silly which spoke to the man-child that I am occasionally known to be. A sequel was inevitable, yet despite a similar level of silliness it lacks the same sort of killer punch that made the first film such a delight. That’s not to say that Meatballs 2, which will henceforth be its name (because otherwise most of this review’s word count will be me saying the full title), is a bad film. Certainly by comparison to the likes of Turbo it’s incredibly well scripted and features the right amount of daftness to pull in children and adults alike. If you’re attuned to that sort of thing, of course.
The story sees weird and wonderful inventor Flint Lockwood, intrepid reporter Sam Sparks, Brent, Earl and Steve (amongst others) return to their home island which has been turned into a food-based jungle by the FLDSMDFR. Given a job with by his idol Chester V, Flint has to go back and find his machine whilst being completely unaware that all is not right as far as his new employer is concerned. But… you kind of guessed that, right? Perhaps the best aspect is the sheer number of food related puns on offer – it’s a pun-filled extravaganza where foods are combined with animals to create shrimpanzees, tacodiles, hippotatoes, and more. It’s a delight, plain and simple.
It’s also the type of film where I find Anna Faris the least annoying. I can’t quite place where my dislike originates, but in pretty much everything else I’d rather just watch something where she isn’t present. The remainder of the cast are fine, Bill Hader in particular is always fun as Flint, and Neil Patrick Harris is both wasted and a genius as one-word monkey Steve. It’s a shame that Mr T didn’t return to voice Earl, but that’s the only notable exception amongst the voice actors, the rest of whom return from the first film. There’s also the usual array of references for eagle-eyed parents to watch out for, including a thinly veiled homage to King Kong. And obviously the jokes, which are as strong as the first film, stronger perhaps because of those food puns.
So why doesn’t it work as well as that first film? Well it’s perhaps a case of familiarity breeding contempt. The first Meatballs was unique in that it was amusingly surreal, didn’t try to play down to its intended audience and balanced out humour for both kids and adults alike. Meatballs 2 does this as well, albeit by relying on the food puns to cover its weak and overly linear story and also to hid the fact the characters don’t really develop. I realise that might be a big ask from a children’s animated film, but there should probably be more to it than what we received. Barb’s transition is nicely done, but for everybody else? Not much going on there. If there was a little more depth, akin to the first film, then Meatballs 2 would have potential to be the superior film. With that said, I’ll still gladly see a third film should it crop up.
Is there an Alan Rickman-style plummet?: Yes