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The Independent Critic

Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Neil Patrick Harris, Will Forte, James Caan, Kristen Schaal, Benjamin Bratt
Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn
Chris Miller, Erica Rivinoja, John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein, Judi Barrett, Phil Lord, Ron Barrett
Rated PG
95 Mins.
Columbia Pictures 

 "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2" is Mostly Just Cloudy 
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If you make the mistake of heading into Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 hoping for some Pixar-style animated breakthroughs, then the odds are pretty strongly in favor of the fact that you're going to find yourself mightily disappointed. 

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 isn't a bad film, but neither is it anything resembling groundbreaking animation or brilliant cinema. It would appear that the folks at Columbia Pictures were content to create a reasonably entertaining film with ordinary yet pleasing animation for the large numbers of folks who found themselves enjoying Flint Lockwood and the cast of regulars from the original film. 

Co-directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn have put together an entertaining and fun film, a film that benefits greatly from the lighthearted irreverence of three SNL alums (Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, and Will Forte) who know how to use their voices creatively and who seem to be having an awful lot of fun doing so here. 

In this film, Flint (Bill Hader) goes to work with his hero, Chester V (Will Forte), who promptly sends him back to Sardine Falls where he discovers that his food-processing invention from the first film has actually survived and is now creating food that could potentially destroy the world as it has taken on a life of its own in a most unusual way. 

While the kiddoes will initially be entertained by how all of this is presented, the likelihood is that both children and adults will quickly tire of the familiar story with its familiar characters and familiar conflicts including, of course, the fact that Flint must ultimately choose between his friends and his hero. Not surprisingly, we'll learn a few things about his "hero" along the way. 

The vocal work in Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 is almost uniformly strong and, at least where Neil Patrick Harris is concerned, the good news is that this is far better than The Smurfs 2.  Most of the gang from the first film is here alongside Flint including his dad (James Caan), lady friend Sam (Anna Faris), Manny (Benjamin Bratt, and the pet monkey named Steve (Harris). In addtion to Chester V's bad self, he has a loyal sidekick himself - an orangutan with extraordinary human qualities (Kristen Schaal). 

Okay, maybe not FAR better. 

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 does make fairly decent use of its 3-D imagery, while parents can relax as this PG-rated film is filled for the most part with positive and inspiring messages that should play well for the young children. With a woeful lack of kid-friendly flicks at the box-office right now, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs has a terrific chance of dominating the family box-office dollars until something new comes along or some stronger Oscar contenders make an appearance. 

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic