In the first Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
film, which turned a 32-page children's book into an unexpected critical darling, young inventor Flint (Bill Hader) concocted a gizmo that turns water into whatever foodstuffs he wants. Cue an unnatural disaster: The machine went berserk and flung giant meatballs at the town, keeping Flint so frantic he couldn’t seal the deal with Sam (Anna Faris), a cute, glasses-wearing weather girl. The sequel starts seconds after the climatic food fight. Flint’s a hero, but his home is a mess. Enter his hero, TV scientist Chester V (Will Forte), a Twizzler-slim, goateed guru. Chester is the inventor of his own life-changing pocket-sized rectangle: a food bar. Though busy tinkering with an update, the Food Bar 8.0, Chester promises a solution the citizens can't resist: He'll send his minions to scrape off the cheese and temporarily relocate everyone to the city of San Franjose. Forget the plot. It's above-average cute stuff that celebrates friendship and brains as Flint, Sam, and their crew-- a moron in a chicken suit (Andy Samberg), a multitasking cameraman (Benjamin Bratt), a monkey, and Flint's monobrowed dad (James Caan)-- return to the island, discover Chester's secret plans, and blah blah blah hugs hugs high fives. What matters is what they find there: puns. Chewandswallow 2.0 is a produce-aisle Avatar
ruled by wordplay. There's hippotatomuses, shrimpanzees, fruit cockatiels, and apple piethons. By the time a marshmallow blinks its goggle-eyes and curls up with a flock of mini-marshmallow babies, you may be convinced you've wandered into the ultimate Japanese grocery store-- or perhaps snuck in a very special brownie. The movie takes its comic cues from The Muppets
and Pee Wee's Playhouse
, kids' shows that ripen as their audience matures.