'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2' (Photo: Columbia Pictures)
There's something very endearing about the fact that "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" is getting a sequel -- and that there was even a "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" in the first place.
The 2009 animated film is a strange and wondrous cinematic creature with a gonzo sci-fi fantasy premise that recalls the hallucinatory, stoned-off-its-gourd '60s children's programming (OR WAS IT?) of Sid and Marty Krofft. Based on the book by Judi and Ron Barrett and directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (it takes a team of two across the board to come up with something like this, after all), "Cloudy" takes place in Swallow Falls, where citizens are forced to survive exclusively on sardines ... until struggling but talented young inventor Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) constructs the FLDSMDFR, a device that turns water into various foodstuffs.
The invention allows Swallow Falls to reinvent itself as Chewandswallow and become a major tourist attraction, though the now-gluttonous townsfolk soon find themselves threatened by a massive freak foodstorm made of spaghetti and meatballs.
"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" was too weird for some (ya think?), but the film managed to tell its bizarre story with Disney-esque enthusiasm, winning over the audience with a good old-fashioned display of "If you believe it, they'll believe it." The film was a decent hit with a worldwide box office take of $246 million, and directors Lord and Miller went on to live-action success with their postmodern (and super-sweet) big-screen take on "21 Jump Street."
Now, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" (directed by the new double team of Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn) finds Flint and his pals -- including weather intern and ladyfriend Sam (Anna Faris), father Tim (James Caan), sardines celebrity mascot Brent (Andy Samberg), Sam's cameraman Manny (Benjamin Bratt) and pet monkey Steve (Neil Patrick Harris) -- living away from Swallow Falls after the all-destructive foodstorm. They return to their hometown after Phil accepts a job at The Live Corp Company, which has been tasked with cleaning up the mess -- and find that something has evolved.
Flint discovers that the FLDSMDFR is still operational, though some sort of malfunction (or, indeed, evolution) has caused it to turn Swallow Falls into a cross between "The Island of Dr. Moreau" and Skull Island from "King Kong" -- with a food theme, of course. The invention has turned the entire town into a kingdom of wild mutant food beasts, including shrimpanzees, mosquitoast, peanut butter and jellyfish, and a Tacodile Supreme, which turns Phil's homecoming into a quest for survival.
The trailer gives a taste (ha!) of this brave new world and, in true sequel style, promises an adventure that's bigger, louder and even weirder than its predecessor. Fans may be disappointed to hear that Mr. T isn't returning to voice the role of super-cop Officer Earl Devereaux, though he's been replaced by almost-as-cool "Expendables" star and former NFL player Terry Crews. Other new cast members include Kristen Schall as Barb, the talking pet orangutan of Chester V (voiced by Will Forte, who played outspoken redneck Joseph Towne in the first film), the head of The Live Corp Company.
"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" will hit theaters on September 27.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Phil Lord