'Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2': The Reviews Are In!

A menagerie of imaginative foodimals inject welcome visual zaniness into this epic sequel.

Picking up right where 2009's "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" left off, the sequel wastes no time getting the audience up to speed and off into a new adventure filled with old friends — returning voice actors Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Neil Patrick Harris, and Andy Samberg — and new locations, including the tech-driven San Franjose and the unrecognizable Swallow Falls, which has been totally food-ified thanks to inventor Flint Lockwood's rogue food machine.

Fans of the original should enjoy the sequel, which offers up a tasty expansion of the world filled with edible landscape and food/animal hybrids that make the film a must-see in 3-D. Roaming the transformed Swallow Falls are cheespiders, tacodiles, flamangos, watermelophants and plenty of other pun-based critters that are guaranteed to make kids smile, even though the adult critics had mixed reactions to the relentless wordplay. More than one critic pegged this as the main course to the previous summer's worth of animated appetizers, praising the film's zippy pace and barrage of legit jokes — even if most of the one-liners come with a side dish.

Read on for a sample of "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2" reviews.

Savor Every Detail

"The color is scrumptious and the human characters, with their expressive Pinocchio-esque eyes, are enchanting. But it is the inventive design of the many creatures that feels so fresh. The detail is so rich, and so dense, that you wish some of the frames would freeze so you had more time for savoring. They are an eclectic bunch of interlopers. But the best — as always — are the more organic mash-ups like those fla-mangoes, where the fruit fits the shape of the bird quite nicely. The completely zany creations, like the cheeseburger bully that scurries around on spider legs made of French fries, are more of a stretch. And that screaming, lettuce-spitting taco-dile is slightly scary." — Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times

Preschool Psychedelia

"There are moments of visual humor in the animated sequel 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2' that are so inventive they feel like a glimpse of a cartoon masterpiece Jerry Lewis might have made. Most of the best scenes, set in a place called San Franjose, eerily capture the pink light of the Bay Area better than anyone since Wayne Thiebaud or Richard Diebenkorn. These scenes also sum up the tech culture there of shiny white start-ups and endless lattes. ... At times it felt as if this film might challenge Pixar's decade-long reign, but that promise wanes. Instead, the movie is sometimes so strange, colorful and wildly cute that it may end up becoming a 'Yellow Submarine' for a new generation." — Miriam Bale, The New York Times

Under New Management

"Having moved on to '21 Jump Street' and the upcoming 'Lego Movie,' the first film's Phil Lord and Chris Miller handed over the directorial reins to Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, both of whom have a long association with Sony Pictures Animation. Swapping the disaster-flick motif of the original for a monster-movie overlay, they lend the proceedings a zippy visual energy and get fine support from their energetic voice cast. But they can't gloss over the uninspired plotting, convoluted exposition (especially in the clunky setup that gets the characters off the island) and truly pun-ishing dialogue credited to Erica Rivinoja ('South Park') and John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein ('Horrible Bosses')." — Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter

Move Over, Minions

"The squibbly Minions of 'Despicable Me 2' have some serious competition on being the cutest — and most quotable — cartoon creations this year. In 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2,' Barry the Berry, perfect in design and simplicity, gives a scene-stealing, nonsense-language speech to his fellow sentient fruits, vegetables and meats. Anyone who doesn't laugh is allergic to fun. Barry is just one of dozens of creative, pun-tastic 'foodimals' in this bright and engaging sequel that's no mere pile of leftovers. This is unquestionably 2013's best animated movie so far." — Jordan Hoffman, New York Daily News

Different From All The Rest

"This isn't groundbreaking moviemaking, either visually or in terms of story. But 'Cloudy 2' moves well. The characters don't communicate primarily by way of day-old pop culture references or mean-girl/bully-boy snark. Most important, the writers and artists take the business of running gags and throwaway gags and all sorts of gags seriously. In other words: It's funny. ... As Flint, his weather caster girlfriend Sam, his fisherman-dad and his pet monkey Steve explore the mysterious island and the plot thickens, 'Cloudy 2' refuses to turn into another stupid action movie disguised as a kids' diversion." — Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

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