Even animation isn’t immune to the greed that drives Hollywood decision-making nowadays. That’s how an imaginative cartoon feature has managed to spawn a pointless sequel. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, released in 2009, was inspired by a popular children’s book and had everything going for it: an ingenious storyline, an unusual setting, and cleverly designed characters who could only exist in a cartoon world. The original writer-directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, have co-story credit on this sequel but the results bear little resemblance to their disarming film.
The movie picks up where the last one left off, as can-do inventor Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) falls under the spell of a popular, if power-hungry, TV scientist named Chester V (Will Forte). Little does our hero suspect that his hero’s plans to clean up Flint’s food-infested island home are motivated by evil, selfish goals. What’s more, while blindly following Chester V’s orders he forsakes his true friends.
The first film followed a straightforward path, but this one is incredibly cluttered, even unclear. I reckon that many audience members would have a hard time filling out an exit quiz asking what the movie is about—other than staying true to your friends and not being fooled by nasty authority figures who pretend to be doing good.
Directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn seem intent on packing their film with fast-paced gags and punchlines, but they’ve lost sight of the bigger picture. Sometimes simple is better—at least, I tend to think so. The people behind this movie clearly disagree.