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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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Pedro de San José Betancur: Central America claimed its first saint with the canonization of Pedro de San José Betancur by Pope John Paul II in Guatemala City on July 30, 2002. Known as the "St. Francis of the Americas," Pedro de Betancur is the first saint to have worked and died in Guatemala. 
<p>Calling the new saint an “outstanding example” of Christian mercy, the Holy Father noted that St. Pedro practiced mercy “heroically with the lowliest and the most deprived.” Speaking to the estimated 500,000 Guatemalans in attendance, the Holy Father spoke of the social ills that plague the country today and of the need for change. </p><p>“Let us think of the children and young people who are homeless or deprived of an education; of abandoned women with their many needs; of the hordes of social outcasts who live in the cities; of the victims of organized crime, of prostitution or of drugs; of the sick who are neglected and the elderly who live in loneliness,” he said in his homily during the three-hour liturgy. </p><p>Pedro very much wanted to become a priest, but God had other plans for the young man born into a poor family on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Pedro was a shepherd until age 24, when he began to make his way to Guatemala, hoping to connect with a relative engaged in government service there. By the time he reached Havana, he was out of money. After working there to earn more, he got to Guatemala City the following year. When he arrived he was so destitute that he joined the bread line that the Franciscans had established. </p><p>Soon, Pedro enrolled in the local Jesuit college in hopes of studying for the priesthood. No matter how hard he tried, however, he could not master the material; he withdrew from school. In 1655 he joined the Secular Franciscan Order. Three years later he opened a hospital for the convalescent poor; a shelter for the homeless and a school for the poor soon followed. Not wanting to neglect the rich of Guatemala City, Pedro began walking through their part of town ringing a bell and inviting them to repent. </p><p>Other men came to share in Pedro's work. Out of this group came the Bethlehemite Congregation, which won papal approval after Pedro's death. A Bethlehemite sisters' community, similarly founded after Pedro's death, was inspired by his life of prayer and compassion. </p><p>He is sometimes credited with originating the Christmas Eve <i>posadas</i> procession in which people representing Mary and Joseph seek a night's lodging from their neighbors. The custom soon spread to Mexico and other Central American countries. </p><p>Pedro was canonized in 2002.</p> American Catholic Blog We sometimes try to do everything on our own, forgetting that the Lord wants to help us. Let's never be afraid to admit that we are weak and can't do things on our own. St. Paul gives us a great example: "On my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses" (2 Corinthians 12:5).


 
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