iconimg Friday, July 31, 2015

Rashid Irani, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, December 21, 2013
Direction: Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn

Voice: Bill Hader, Anna Faris

Rating: **1/2

As frenetic and insubstantial as the original 2009 animated fantasy, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 once again blends slapstick comedy with candy-coloured visuals. The reheated concoction will appeal to its target pre-teen audience so long as they don't  expect anything too filling.

The first film's wide-eyed young inventor (delightfully dubbed by Hader) and his colleagues band back together to embark on another food-centric adventure. Returning to their island home, they are tasked with shutting down the old water vapour-into-foodstuff machine.

The out-of-control contraption has processed a new breed of food-animal hybrid. Their tropical habitat transforms into a veritable Jurassic Park, with the beleaguered buddies confronted by an array of mutant critters including tacodiles, cheepspiders and shrimpanzees.

Working from a lightweight script attributed to as many as five writers, co-directors Cameron and Pearn render the setting in an eye-popping palette. The animated human protagonists, however, lack charm.

The first half in particular is plagues by spacing problems. The narrative is also bogged down with some heavy-handed moralising about the eco-system.

The stellar supporting vocal cast includes old-timer James Caan as the inventor's fisherman dad, Anna Faris as a petite meteorologist entrepreneur who sets the culinary mayhem in motion.

A step down of sorts from the cheery original;, the second serving of Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 is palatable enough. The clever end-titles sequence lends an added-flavour to the snappy 90-minute offering.