Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

In the mood for something cheesy? No, I mean literally cheesy. And hammy. And fruity. And any other food-based adjective you’d care to offer up…

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 hits theaters this weekend with all the subtlety of Godzilla (if Godzilla was a triple-decker ham, turkey, and roast beef sandwich). Picking up exactly where the first movie left off (we even get a handy-dandy capsule recap), Cloudy 2 finds whack-a-doodle inventor Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) being recruited by his boyhood mad-scientist idol Chester V (Will Forte) to help clean up the mess left behind when Flint’s transpondster-thingy started making all that really big food.

Flint, of course, jumps at the chance, failing to realize that Chester has hatched a nefarious plan to recover the transpondster-thingy for himself, so he can sell a bunch of his new granola energy bars.

Eventually Flint and his buddies (Anna Faris as Sam, Andy Samberg as man-baby Brent, Benjamin Bratt as cameraman Manny, James Caan as Flint’s sardine-loving dad, and Terry Crews filling in for Mr. T as policeman Earl) find their way back to Swallow Falls, only to discover that the super-sized food has not only overrun the place but has come to life.

Just like that, food puns arrive, thick as pea soup. Among the food-animal hybrids now roaming the land are shrimpanzees, mosquitoasts, and bananostriches. Jokes about things being a piece of cake or easy as pie are plentiful, and screenwriting partners John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (The Incredible Burt Wonderstone) and Erica Rivinoja (TV’s Up All Night) like the joke “There’s a leek in the boat!” so much they use it twice. And, yes, there’s even a requisite “cut the cheese” joke, too.

Much to your kids’ delight, co-directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn never ease up on the hyperkinetic energy, creating a rainbow-colored, candy-coated world so visually loud that it makes Wreck-It Ralph look downright monochromatic. Even if you wisely pass on buying them a candy bar at the concession counter, your tykes will still leave the theater on a sugar high not seen since their 5th birthday party– the one where they ate that whole bag of jellybeans.

Unfortunately, adults won’t leave on such a high. The story, when all is said and done, goes exactly nowhere (and takes the longest possible route to get there), and the jokes start getting rotten to the core not even an hour in. Cloudy 2 will make you hungry, sure, but it was also leave you feeling hungry for a better movie.

2.5/5 stars