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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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Monica: The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism. 
<p>Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine (August 28) , is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy (all flesh is evil)  and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted. </p><p>When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan. </p><p>In Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste. </p><p>She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death. </p><p>Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his <i>Confessions</i>.</p> American Catholic Blog Trust always and a great deal in divine providence; never, never must you let yourselves be discouraged, despite contrary winds. I say it again: trust in God and Mary Immaculate; be faithful and forge ahead! <br />-Paulina do Coração Agonizante de Jesus

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