Reviewer Daniel Janks: actor, creative director, writer, cynic, father, husband. He was born in 1977 and has still not died. He loves many things, chief among which are his mythic wife and odd girl-child. Visit his website.
Director : Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn
Writer : Judi Barrett, Ron Barrett
Cast : Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Will Forte
AGE RATING: PG
Take the kiddies, they’ll love it.
I loved Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs 1, who wouldn’t. The second iteration is very good, but not in the same league as the first. The film is funny and wacky and weird and charming and cute and just as off the wall as the first, but it seemed to me to be a little lazy, placing much of it’s humour and charm in the realm of pun and slapstick, rather than wit and farce.
Picking up directly where the first film ends, Flint Lockwood has just saved the world from his invention the Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator, or FLDSMDFR. He’s swept up by his boyhood hero Chester V and goes to work at Live Corp to become an inventor and general make-the-world-a-better-place-er. But all is not kosher in the world and Chester V is not what he appears. Flint soon finds out that the FLDSMDFR hasn’t been destroyed but is still alive and has been hard at work turning Swallow Falls into a land-that-time-forgot-esque island of wonder populated by strange and wondrous food animals, or foodimals, like the: Wild Scalions and the Apple Pie-thon, the Sasquash and Peanut Butter and Jellyfish, the Shrimpanzee and the Watermelophant. So, Flint and his band of merry misanthropes journey back home to stop his most dangerous invention. But all is not as it seems in cuckoo land.
Being an animated film it’s hard to talk about the acting. The voice performances are great, the cast perfectly grasps and communicates the film’s intense focus on wacky and weird. They are believable and funny and mostly perfectly unmemorable. What is more memorable is the unusual animation style of the film. The characters are as crazily created and rendered as the world is wacky and weird. It’s a fresh style that makes for a welcome departure from the now quite familiar styles of more run of the mill animated features. However, unlike the first film, this one fails to move. Somehow CWACOM 1 was weird and wacky AND moving and heartfelt and, despite my trepidation, really grabbed me and sucked me in. I think it’s more the script than the delivery or the animation, but CWACOM II just doesn’t manage it.
The film flows nicely, it moves fast and is exciting and interesting. It’s funny and full of beans (there are actual beans in the film) and it hits all the right notes at all the right moments. But for all that it seemed a little one-dimensional to me. So many animated features manage to exist in that multi-dimensional space, where they’re great for kids and, on another level, great for biggies too. This one doesn’t have the sophistication for that multi-dimensionality.
Take the kids. They’ll love it and you’ll laugh and have a good time. But I think you may enjoy how much the kids are enjoying it even more than you’ll enjoy the film itself.