Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 (C+)

Steve Jobs as the New Darth Vader

I know what you’re thinking: what soppy, manic movie will teach my kids to fear techie, capitalist Steve Jobs-style icons and their geeky, hipster minions??  Okay, maybe you weren’t thinking that, but Cloudy 2 fits the bill.   While your kids ogle the colorful, food creatures they’ve seen in previews, we adults can sit back and enjoy some long overdue jokes at Silicon Valley’s expense.

Cloudy 2 picks up just minutes after Cloudy 1 ended.  Kind-hearted, nerdy inventor Flint Lockwood (SNL’s Bill Hader) has just saved his island town from his invention: a machine that makes food rain down from the sky.  A devastating storm has left the island covered in food, but Flint’s happy because he finally has his father’s acceptance, a girlfriend (Anna Faris), and a bunch of new friends.  Things get even better with the arrival of Flint’s lifelong idol – – a world-famous inventor named “Chester V” (Steve Jobs, dressed in brighter colors).  “Chester V” tells the town’s residents to leave so the island can be cleaned up, and he offers Flint a job at his billion-dollar company in “SanFranJose.”  With Flint lured away, Chester V sets out to exploit the fantastic, food animals that have taken over the island.   Can Flint discover and foil Chester V’s evil plan before it’s too late??!!

Cloudy 2 is a mess of a movie.  The first part is aimed squarely at adults.  Chester V’s company is a ham-fisted (not that I mind) send-up of the famous Google campus.  Everyone wears glasses, swills coffee, and worships creativity with jihadist-like fervor.  Then, about 20 minutes in, the kid portion of the movie begins when the action shifts back to Flint’s island town.  Flint’s old invention has caused foods to mutate into sentient beings: watermelon-phants, tacodiles, flam-mangoes.  Their DNA structures are governed by puns; they’re huge and colorful; and your kids will love them.  You, however, may be annoyed by the nonsensical plot and meth-paced editing.

My advice?  Wait to see this when it comes out as a rental.  Its frenzied, disjointed action will be easier to tolerate on a small screen.  In the meantime, if you haven’t seen it yet, go rent Cloudy 1 – – a much finer movie.

P.S.   [Half-hearted, nightmare alert]  Most of the food-animals on the island are cute, but a few of them, especially the cheeseburger spider, are little-kid scary . . .  at first.

P.S.2 [Nagging question alert]  This movie invites some uncomfy questions about eating cute critters (families of marshmallows, talking strawberries, etc.).  A 5-year old once told me that she would not eat “anything with a face.”  Her parents laughed, but that kid did not eat meat for the next ten years.  I doubt this movie will create as many vegetarians as Babe did, but there’s still a chance . . .

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