Basing a film around the premise of animals made entirely of food ("foodimals") is a risky move. There's a reason why the talking vegetables on The Muppet Show were limited to bit parts. Like a lot of foods, they're best served in small portions. Yet with Saturday Night Live alumnus Bill Hader voicing the lead character of aspiring inventor Flint Lockwood, one can't help but be reminded of a beloved piece of recent SNL history: travel tips from Hader's kooky, coked-up New York club kid Stefon Zolesky. After all, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 has everything: shrimp-anzees, fla-mangoes, taco-diles, and a gruff fisherman with a unibrow and an unparalleled passion for chum. It even looks like a trippy rave (albeit a significantly more child-friendly version).
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 begins shortly after its predecessor left off. Flint Lockwood and his meteorologist friend Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) have stopped the Diatomic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator before it could destroy mankind with a spaghetti-and-meatballs storm of monstrous proportions. Flint, Sam, and pals begin to make plans for a start-up research lab, but their success is short-lived. Enter Chester V (Will Forte): inventor, mad genius, corporation owner, and Flint's boyhood idol. Chester informs Flint that the Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator was not entirely destroyed, and it's currently producing malevolent food creatures that pose a threat to humanity. Of course, all is not what it seems.
The plot itself is a simple story about the importance of camaraderie and friendship, but the film is anything but trite. Whimsy is evident in every scene, and the few moments that threaten to trespass into schmaltzy territory are reigned in with a fart joke. The food puns are ample, yet they induce giggles instead of groans. Similarly, the animation appears to have been inspired by Jurassic Park, Coraline, Wreck-It Ralph, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (among other films), but it still adds up to a very original world.
If there is anything negative to be said about Cloudy 2, it's that there is very little dramatic tension. There is never any doubt that the good guy will prevail and that Chester V, pardon the pun, is mincemeat. Thankfully, what the film lacks in suspense it delivers in plain old fun. Whether it's a favorite dish, a ragged stuffed animal, or an animated movie, sometimes the comfort that comes along with fun is sustenance enough.