Is this one serving of 'Meatballs' too many?
The Herculean task of any sequel is repeating the experience of the original film, or improving on it. That's nigh on impossible due to the simple fact that you only get to take the viewing public utterly by surprise once.
The out-of-nowhere novelty and delight of Sony Animation's “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” based on Judi and Ron Barrett's children's book, is missing in “Meatballs 2.” The design and color palette is as glorious as ever. But the laughs are few and innovations fewer in this generally winded knock-off.
Inventor Flint Lockwood's cuisine-creating weather machine has come to the attention of his idol, corporate scientist and TV science-show host Chester V (Will Forte), who worries that the island of Swallow Falls is too dangerous to live on — for now. The gadget is producing food animals — predators, “Taco-diles” and Cheese(burger) Spiders, Su-sheep and Shrimpanzees and Fla-mangoes.
So, Chester convinces the town to evacuate and Flint (Bill Hader) to join Chester V's “Think-quanauts,” scientists who work in Chester V's invention factory. Eventually, Flint is commissioned to go back and turn off his errant weather-food machine, and his pals Sam Sparks the meteorologist (Anna Faris), her camera operator/scientist Manny (Benjamin Bratt), former baby model Brent (Andy Samberg), hyper-active cop Earl (Terry Crews, replacing Mr. T.) and Flint's sardine-fisherman dad (James Caan, replacing James Gandolfini) venture back there to brave “an eco-system of living food.” Swallow Falls is a Jurassic Park of Bananostriches, Water Mellaphants and the like..
The moral lessons, about science making the world a better place (or creating mayhem) and accepting that your children will not always emulate you or live up to your expectations, are muddy. There's a villain, rather than a runaway technology, to battle here. And the villain is bland as oatmeal without the raisins.
Roger Moore is a writer for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Review: ‘A Most Violent Year’ speaks softly, carries much menace
- Review: Cotillard shines in Dardennes’ moving social drama
- Review: ‘Black or White’ finds dramatic promise in the grey areas of American race relations
- Review: A tired gimmick weakens thriller ‘Project Almanac’
- Review: Law can’t manage to keep ‘Black Sea’ afloat
- DVD reviews: ‘The Judge,’ ‘Fury’ and ‘The Book of Life’
- ‘Let It Snow’ filming in Millvale
- Romero’s son plans ‘Living Dead’ origins story
- Pittsburgh-set ‘Me and Earl’ big at Sundance, gets distribution deal
- IMAX ‘Game of Thrones’ coming to Waterfront theater
- Extras sought for feature film ‘Let It Snow’