While no one was exactly crying out for second helpings of this animated meat-eorology franchise, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 is charming enough on its own not to feel like just reheated leftovers. Inventor Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader), the man whose foodstuff-generating contraption led to the comestible weather patterns in 2009’s Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and his gang of pals discover that his invention is still at large. What’s more, it has started imbuing its creations with sentience, leading to an entire edible ecosystem.
Flint is sent on an expedition by his hero (and ultimately, we learn, the film’s villain): wavy-armed tech-guru Chester V, voiced by Hader’s former Saturday Night Live co-star Will Forte. He soon comes across all species of ”foodimals,” including?but God knows, not limited to?shrimpanzees, flamangos, and tacodiles. There’s a vague underlying message of vegetarianism, or at least anti-corporatism, as well as some emotional beats that were hit earlier and harder in the first go-round. But the film mainly subsists on its own manic energy. The animation is inventive and elastic, the dialogue zippy and shamelessly punny, and the tone lighthearted and fun, even if on a whole it’s not quite a full meal. B