Sony Pictures' animation Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is a very unoriginally titled sequel. But if critics are to be believed, that minor slip apart this film is quite the wholesome entertainer.
"Unlike so many sequels, this fun-filled 3D adventure is sure to entertain younger kids but also charm the adults who will be accompanying them to the multiplexes," writes a satisfied Bill Zwecker in Sun Times.
He also points out that this film is "without anything that could disturb even the youngest audience member."
"The innovation lies in the setting," says Catherine Bray in Timeout. "After a prologue involving a bad guy more obviously up to no good than Dr Evil, we’re plunged into a tropical world where, thanks to the invention that made junk food rain from the skies in the last film, ‘foodimals’ roam free."
"Imagine a Jurassic Park constructed entirely out of whatever foodstuff best satisfies your appetite for a pun. They’ve got tacodiles, flamangoes, shrimpanzees and adorable little marshmallow creatures that look exactly like the Adipose blob monsters David Tennant battled in Doctor Who," she adds.
But Peter Hartlaub of SF Gate hints at some lack of originality. "The animated sequel starts as a very clever and slightly sinister deconstruction of Silicon Valley culture, before morphing into a lightweight Jurassic Park parody, then morphing again into a rousing Avatar-style nature versus machines battle. (The latter incorporates elements of the Battle of Endor, with monster tacos instead of Ewoks.)"
Oh, so have we seen it all before?
Nope, says Todd Gilchrist of The Wrap.
"Regardless whether its Jurassic Park and teen-movie goofs are particularly resonant with you, the animation is simply gorgeous, and utilizes the free reign of its filmmakers imagination to create landscapes that are perfect both for physical confrontations and emotional standoffs. (A lake-sized pool of syrup provides both a wonderful sight gag and a perfect metaphorical location for Flint’s to choose between Live Corp and his friends.)" writes a delighted Gilchrist.
Keith Staskiewicz of Entertainment Weekly has a curious observation to share. "There's a vague underlying message of vegetarianism, or at least anti-corporatism, as well as some emotional beats that were hit earlier and harder in the first go-round. But the film mainly subsists on its own manic energy. The animation is inventive and elastic, the dialogue zippy and shamelessly punny, and the tone lighthearted and fun, even if on a whole it's not quite a full meal."
Wow, it does all that...
...and more according to David Hiltbrand. "The soundtrack is cool, mostly because of Paul McCartney's latest song, New, and a remix of the Ohio Express' Yummy Yummy Yummy," he writes in Philly.com.
Hiltbrand leaves the viewers with a tip: "Try not to think about the implications of what is happening on screen for our ecosystem. Just savor the bounty of this children's banquet. Relish it."
Yeah, I think I'm going to go grab some lunch right about now.