Earl (Terry Crews), Manny (Benjamin Bratt), Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) holding Barry the strawberry, Steve (Neil Patrick Harris) on top of Flint Lockwood's head (Bill Hader) discover Flint's most infamous machine is still operating and is now creating food-animal hybdrids including fruit cockatiels, bananostriches, watermelophants and cucumbirds in Sony Pictures Animation's CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2."


DIRECTORS: Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn

VOICE CAST: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Will Forte, Kristen Schaal, Terry Crews, Benjamin Bratt, Andy Samberg


RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes

RATING:3 stars (out of 5)

Theresa Smith

DRIPPING with colour, food and film gags, this Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs sequel is cheesy family fun.

It is as bright and chirpy as the first film, but not quite as ingenious in its portrayal of crazy inventions. What it does have lots of, though, is foodimals – food animal hybrids – which the six-year-old in you will relish… or chutney, whatever your choice. Double cheespiders, tacodiles, shrimpanzees and a couple of leeks on the boat. Sorry, I just couldn’t resist.

Anyway, food puns aside, this film follows immediately on from the first one, with the island populace of Swallow Falls faced with a huge environmental problem because of the foodstorms caused by Flint Lockwood’s (Hader) machine going wild.

Promising a clean-up, the Live Corp Company swoops in and relocates everyone, with Flint getting a job with his idol, scientist Chester V (Forte). (Remove the orange life vest and Steve Jobs may just be the inspiration for the Zen super-inventor.)

When the Live Corp Company drones cannot destroy or locate the source of the foodimals that have taken over the island, Chester V sends Flint in to find the Fldsmdfr machine which survived the explosion meant to destroy it.

Flint’s dad, Tim Lockwood (Caan), takes him and his friends to the island on his fishing boat, though he stays behind to make friends with some leeks, providing a little sideplot that resolves some of the father-son issues touched on in the first film.

Influenced by Chester V, whom he is desperate to impress with his inventive genius, Flint pulls away from his friends, which we know is just a set-up for the inevitable “we’re your friends, we’ve got your back” moment.

Luckily his girlfriend, meteorologist Sam Sparks (Faris), her cameraman Manny (Bratt), police officer Earl Devereaux (Crews) and “Chicken” Brent (Samberg) think he is worth fighting for as a friend. How sweet.

The Jurassic Park gags are really funny and the tiny strawberry trying too hard to say “Sam Sparks”… adorable.

The pacing is stop-start, while the plot is predictable, but the silly food jokes (which range from cringeworthy through fart jokes to classics in the making) and one-liners are what keep you laughing and there are visual gags in pretty much every frame. Goofiness is the order of the day with an almost LSD-worthy rush of cute on the side.

While the human designs (especially that of Chester V) are disproportionate, the imaginative visual feast of food is detailed.

The multimedia smorgasbord end credits provide the best gags of the film as the coda shows us what happens after the ending. By the time the friends are trying to save the day the plot has completely dissolved like jelly in boiling water, but the overriding sensory immersion of the imaginative world filled with colour, happiness and food gone riot is beautiful.

If you liked “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” you will like this.