Apparently a spaghetti tornado isn’t drastic enough for Swallow Falls. Extending the grand universe of the first film, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” doubles the fun with bacon cheespiders and shrimp-made chimpanzees called the shrimpanzees. The film is cute, and almost too adorable to a fault. Prepare to witness an island teeming with swimming marshmallows and exploding rainbows.

Apparently a spaghetti tornado isn’t drastic enough for Swallow Falls. Extending the grand universe of the first film, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” doubles the fun with bacon cheespiders and shrimp-made chimpanzees called the shrimpanzees. The film is cute, and almost too adorable to a fault. Prepare to witness an island teeming with swimming marshmallows and exploding rainbows.

The film picks up exactly where it left off.  Protagonist, Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader), Sam Sparks (Anna Faris), and the citizens of Swallow Falls are forced to relocate to make way for a so-called “clean up” mission. Fortunately for Lockwood, he is employed by Chester V, his childhood idol to join a top-notch design corporation called The Live Corp Company. It’s amusing how the founder of the company, Chester V, is a billionaire techie who wears a dark sweater over his skinny limbs and blue jeans—get the resemblance? It’s Steve Jobs.

The cleanup mission goes awry, only to be outrun by defensive food animals. Teaming along with the old gang—officer Earl Devereaux, Manny, Lockwood’s dad, Steve the Monkey, and the beloved weather reporter, Sam Sparks—the group embarks on a mission to shut down the FLDSMDFR once and for all.  

As expected from its creative title, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” is a highly energetic and colorful animated feature that is sophisticatedly made. The 3-D effect allows colors to interchange fluidly on screen, and prompts a realistic aura. Visually, it isn’t groundbreaking in any way, but anything less than spectacular falls short nowadays. Kids can definitely expect a visual treat, and along the way, learn a few food and vegetable terms ranging from scallion to watermelon. How many “Foodimals” are in the film? There are too numerous to count. It’s a challenge up to the viewers to partake.

This animated comedy is packed with more jokes than the previous one. Most humors come cheap as they are derived from fruit and vegetable terms with quirky tweaks. Expect a myriad of jokes such as, “there is a leak in the boat,” while a camera pans down to a leek screaming in panic. These dietary and nutritional originated jokes bring out few laughs, with more reactions resolved to dry chuckles.

The most blatant flaw of this movie is its predictable plot. It’s linear and trivial to the point that it fails to challenge and acknowledge the kids’ developing minds. Children deserve a film with more heart and richer character development. Instead of a coherent plot that propels the whole movie, this sequel relies on many scattering ideas (yet clever ones) to trundle along the film. It is a hodgepodge of potentially qualitative ideas and clever puzzle pieces that loses its steam as a unitary engine.

Characters are unfortunately stereotypical. Expect the jock to behave jock-like, an immigrant to behave immigrant-like, and former owner of a sardine store to spend his whole day thinking about fishing. With this said, these conventional descriptions allow the characters to become more distinguished and memorable in their own niches. Specifically, the ultimate villain Chester V, who is a parody of Steve Jobs, is wildly delicious. He is cunning, manipulative, and perilously brilliant much like the many successful, technological revolutionists. At times, the conversation between Lockwood and Chester V is even more enjoyable than ominous threat of a man-eating deluxe burger.

Overall, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” is a wild ride, and a film full of potential and clever scatterplots along an adventure map. This map, however, is a linear one, and often tries too hard to elicit a laugh that sometimes a yawn may come instead.

Running time: 1hr 35min; Rated PG-13

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