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Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 12:00 am

Cloudy 2 an undercooked concoction

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After being pleasantly surprised with 2009’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, I was hoping that the same sense of invention and humor that made the first entry in this series so charming, would be present in the follow-up. Alas, it was not to be. This undercooked sequel plays like a cake that hasn’t been fully baked or a soufflé with no eggs or … well, I could make food comparisons all day, but the long and short of it is that something vital is missing from this production. While the directors of the first film, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, are credited as co-writers, their sure hand behind the camera is sorely missed. Filmmakers Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn are unable to corral the story and build a sense of gleeful momentum, which is vital to films of this sort.

The adventure picks up right where the first film left off. Inventor Flint Lockwood (voice by Bill Hader), despite having destroyed his island home Swall Falls with his invention that turns water into food, has been hired by the conglomerate Live Corp, run by his idol Chester V (Will Forte). However, what our hero doesn’t realize is that he’s being duped and his boss wants nothing more than to get a hold of his creation, convinced he can work out the kinks. Unfortunately, V’s minions are having a hard time locating the invention, which is now churning out mutant food creatures. So, Flint, his girlfriend Sam (Anna Faris), his father (James Caan) and their friends head back to Swall Falls to find the rabid food re-processor and turn it off so that it can be recovered.

This premise takes far too long to set up and the way the locale switches back and forth may confuse young viewers. Because it takes so long to set things up, the film never catches fire. It lurches from one misadventure after another with Flint and his crew encountering one mutant creature after another. Cameron and Pearn are obviously riffing on Jurassic Park. The characters encounter creatures such as Flamangos, Shrimpanzees and Bannaostriches among many others with a sense of wonder and delight. The visuals are very good here and you can tell that the animators involved had great fun creating these food/animal hybrids with the brightest colors their computer palettes could provide.

Too bad the story becomes repetitious and predictable while the jokes come off as tired rather than inspired. You know you’re in trouble when the action in the background proves more intriguing than what’s happening in the foreground (Flint’s spastic monkey steals one scene after another) while fart and poop jokes, the final refuge of desperate screenwriters, pop up far too often. And while the film is never less than fun to look at, intriguing visuals do not a full meal make where Cloudy 2 is concerned.

Contact Chuck Koplinski at ckoplinski@usd116.org.

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