Cloudy with a Chance of Leftovers...

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 was doing fine for the first five minutes, and then it fell apart for me.

The first five minutes were a recap of the first movie, with the insertion of the new movie's villain, plus a brilliant introduction of the cast of characters as they all agree to join Sam and Flynn in the creation of a lab. It was silly fun, with a pretty well-delivered monkey-poo joke. I was on board and invested. 

Then we have our plot complication, a scattering of the cast, and a 6-months-later montage which, for me anyway, sucked all the energy out of the film, and squandered my investment. When we got everybody back together for the adventure it felt forced, and the roles they had promised us in that opening introduction sequence were mostly ignored. 

See, it looked like we were going to get a "caper" film with a fun team of characters, but the "fun" was re-hashing of the last film's gags, the side characters were almost completely interchangeable, and the running theme seemed to be food+animal names = pun! Shrimpanzee! Watermelophant! Ad nauseum! Clever, but quickly boring. The Tacosaurus Supreme was pretty good, and made me hungry for tacos, but that's about the limit of my interest in those jokes.

Where the first film appeared to be doing throwaway gags, but then revealed each of them to be a promise that was later fulfilled, this movie made what felt like an obvious promise, and then wandered around in the food puns for an hour and a half, with dozens of throwaway gags and zero memorable callbacks. The closing credits did a better job of fulfilling promises to the viewer than the film itself did.

I did like how the TV with legs, which was the one invention in the first film that did not come into play during that film's final act, actually DID come into play here. Clearly SOMEBODY knew how these things are supposed to work. Ultimately, though, the film was disappointing. I think the first film is a great example of how a formula can be used correctly to make a silly story powerful. The second one is a great example of how a formula can be a crutch that bad storytelling kicks away. It might be fun to make a class project out of deconstructing both movies along these lines, but I've got other projects on my plate right now OH SNAP FOOD PUN... and that one was better than the ones in the movie.

This film comes in at #24 for me as of this writing, below the threshold of disappointment. Will it be fun for you and the kids? I don't know, but at the showing I attended none of the children in the audience were laughing. As barometers go, that one says "stay indoors and play Parcheesi."