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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Animated characters are seen in the movie "Cloudy With Chance of Meatballs 2."
A second helping of colorful fun is served up in the cheerful animated sequel "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2" (Columbia).

Loosely based, like its 2009 predecessor, on a book by Judi and Ron Barrett, directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn's comedy elevates friendship and teamwork over egotism, and re-echoes a familiar—but nonetheless valuable—message about environmental responsibility. Some parents, however, will not appreciate the predictable appearance of a bit of potty humor, or the inclusion in the dialogue of a duo of slightly coarse exclamations rhyming with granola.

Set precisely one minute after the action of the original came to an end, this follow-up kicks off with some bad news for our returning hero, nerdy but endearing Flint Lockwood (voice of Bill Hader).

Flint, the young inventor of the machine that caused so much mayhem the last time out—a device capable of turning water into food—learns that the mechanism, which he thought had been disabled, has, in fact, continued to function and is now producing animals made out of menu items. This information comes to him courtesy of Chester V (voice of Will Forte), the famed scientist and corporate guru (a la Steve Jobs) Flint has long idolized.

Since the hybrid creatures his brainchild is manufacturing are multiplying rapidly, and have the potential to overrun the world, Flint must return to his island-set hometown, Swallow Falls—where he abandoned the gizmo—and try to shut it down for good. He's joined on this quest by his protective dad Tim (voice of James Caan) as well as by his best friend—and potential love interest—TV meteorologist Sam Sparks (voice of Anna Faris).

Flint gets additional backup from a team of other characters familiar to viewers of the first movie: sprightly simian Steve the Monkey (voiced by Neil Patrick Harris), good-hearted doofus Brent (voice of Andy Samberg), muscle-bound police officer Earl Devereaux (voice of Terry Crews) and Sam's imperturbable cameraman Manny (voiced by Benjamin Bratt).

Early on, we discover—though Flint does not—that Chester has a hidden agenda. To fulfill it, he consistently tries to sow discord between Flint and his pals, especially Sam, by exhorting Flint to be a solitary hero.

If Chester isn't what he initially appears to be, neither, it turns out, are the so-called "foodimals" the gang encounters along the way.

Some, like the cheespiders (giant cheeseburgers with French-fry legs) and tacodiles (towering dinosaurs composed of taco shells and fillings), may seem ferocious at first blush. But others, like a plucky little strawberry Sam christens Barry and a host of hug-hungry marshmallows, are quite cuddly —so much so that Sam begins to have second thoughts about Flint's mission to interfere with their creation.

Aside from the few ill-chosen ingredients mentioned above, "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2" makes a tasty, if not especially substantial, cinematic meal for the whole family.

The film contains a few bathroom-based jokes and a couple of very mild vulgarities. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II—adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG—parental guidance suggested.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.



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Alphonsus Rodriguez: Tragedy and challenge beset today’s saint early in life, but Alphonsus Rodriguez found happiness and contentment through simple service and prayer. 
<p>Born in Spain in 1533, Alphonsus inherited the family textile business at 23. Within the space of three years, his wife, daughter and mother died; meanwhile, business was poor. Alphonsus stepped back and reassessed his life. He sold the business and, with his young son, moved into his sisters’ home. There he learned the discipline of prayer and meditation. </p><p>Years later, at the death of his son, Alphonsus, almost 40 by then, sought to join the Jesuits. He was not helped by his poor education. He applied twice before being admitted. For 45 years he served as doorkeeper at the Jesuits’ college in Majorca. When not at his post, he was almost always at prayer, though he often encountered difficulties and temptations. </p><p>His holiness and prayerfulness attracted many to him, including St. Peter Claver, then a Jesuit seminarian. Alphonsus’s life as doorkeeper may have been humdrum, but he caught the attention of poet and fellow-Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins, who made him the subject of one of his poems. </p><p>Alphonsus died in 1617. He is the patron saint of Majorca.</p> American Catholic Blog People mess up, and it’s especially hard to watch as our children and other young people go down paths we know are likely to lead to heartbreak. Providing gentle guidance when it’s needed, and love even when that guidance isn’t followed, helps them to start fresh.

 
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