I seem to recall finding the original CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS kind of charming and funny, but if you'd ask me recall certain elements or scenes to back up that memory, I couldn't do it. And having seen MEATBALLS 2, I'm really doubting my thoughts on the first film. Still armed with the same cast of characters, but adding one named Chester V. (voiced by Will Forte), the head of a huge corporation called The Live Corp Company, who bears a striking overall resemblance in both look and philosophy to the late Steve Jobs (which seems in terrible taste), this new movie is all about distrusting companies, which I guess are worse than machines that almost bury the world in oversized junk food.
Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader), the inventor of the original food-generating machine, is hired by Chester V. to be an inventor. All Live Corp seems to do is have an army of inventors creating whatever the hell they want to, with no real guidance or idea of what the person next to them is inventing. Sounds like an efficiently run company. Meanwhile, the island where Flint and his family and friends lived has been evacuated for cleanup by V.'s teams, but what the mogul really wants is to find the food machine and use it for his own purposes. He sends Flint back to the island, which is now populated by food-animal hybrids, to look for his machine and shut it down permanently.
There's pretty much never a second in this movie where we don't distrust Chester V, with his giant head and serpentine arms and legs, so there's no real drama built up waiting for him to reveal himself. The best things about him is his assistant Barb (Kristen Schaal), who is actually an ape with a human brain that Chester doesn't see as anything but an animal.
The best parts of MEATBALLS 2 are the "foodimals." There's at least a hint of creativity behind the creation of cheespiders that spin webs of melted cheese or tacodiles or schrimpanzees (my favorite) or hippotatomuses or any number of invented creatures. It actually reminded me of some of the in-between evolution creatures from THE CROODS, but a little more kid friendly. Directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn have clearly spent a lot of time fine tuning these inventions, while leaving the actual story bland and predictable. And when you've got voice actors like Andy Samberg (yes, there's a high former-SNL factor here), Anna Faris, James Caan, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris and Terry Crews, you've got to give them something more interesting and humorous to do than just yell in funny voices.
When this was over, I couldn't help but think this would have been much better as a direct-to-video sequel, rather than eat up our valuable time with a sappy, limp story and unimpressive 3-D. The film is absolutely aimed at the younger crowd, and I'm sure they'll enjoy it to a point. Again, the food-animal hybrids are memorable, and I found myself eager to see what the next entree of creatures would be, but without even a mildly compelling story to support it, I'm afraid the foodimals just weren't enough to sustain my interest in CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2.