With new writers and directors, this frenetic sequel indulges in silliness with less substance than last time. It's a lot of fun, but also rather forgettable, like the movie's surprisingly unimaginative title (honestly, the sky was literally the limit here). So while we laugh at the constant barrage of jokes and the colourful visual mayhem, there's nothing to engage us on a more satisfying level.
It opens with a recap of the first film, then carries on immediately, as young inventor Flint (voiced by Hader) is thrilled that his idol Chester (Forte), head of super-cool mega-company Live Corp, is put in charge of cleaning up the food storm Flint started. With a secret plan to get his hands on Flint's invention, Chester evacuates everyone from the island community Swallow Falls and offers Flint a job at his headquarters in San Franjose, California. But back home the food has come to life and is threatening to attack the world, so Flint is sent to solve the problem, unofficially accompanied by his pals (Faris' weathergirl, Samberg's surfer dude, Bratt's cameraman and Crews' muscle-cop) and his fisherman dad (Caan).
These characters are so hilariously goofy that we can't help but enjoy the chaos as they return to the island, which has been transformed into a Jurassic Park-style jungle overrun by food-pun creatures like shrimpanzees, tacodiles and watermelephants. The animation is gorgeously detailed, with all kinds of visual gags to match the deranged verbal banter. And the snappy voice cast dive in with gusto. The new characters fit in perfectly: Forte is hilariously slimy, while Schaal (as his talking baboon assistant Barb) steals the show as the only person on-screen who has a story arc.
And while there's never a dull moment, this lack of depth leaves us slightly bored. The only hint of resonance is in the way Live Corp is an amusing mashup of Apple and Google, using desirability and paranoia to generate profits. Otherwise, there's so much being flung into our faces with in eye-catching 3D that we don't know where to look. But at least it's a lot of fun, and the wildly eclectic humour makes sure that both kids and grown-ups will never stop laughing.
Run time: 95 mins
In Theaters: Friday 27th September 2013
Box Office USA: $119.8M
Box Office Worldwide: $248.4M
Distributed by: Sony Pictures
Production compaines: Sony, Columbia Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 70%
Fresh: 81 Rotten: 35
IMDB: 6.5 / 10
Director: Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn
Producer: Kirk Bodyfelt
Screenwriter: John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein, Erica Rivinoja
Starring: Neil Patrick Harris as Steve (voice), Anna Faris as Sam Sparks (voice), Terry Crews as Earl Devereaux (voice), James Caan as Tim Lockwood (voice), Andy Samberg as Baby Brent (voice), Kristen Schaal as Barb (voice), Bill Hader as Flint Lockwood (voice), Benjamin Bratt as Manny (voice), Will Forte as Chester V (voice), Melissa Sturm as Sentinel Louise (voice), Khamani Griffin as Cal Devereaux (voice), Cody Cameron as Barry/ Dill Pickle (voice)
Also starring: John Francis Daley
Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie brings a dark and gritty tone to this larger-than-life franchise. Along with...
With a spectacular setting and two solid actors on-screen, this thriller builds enough solid suspense...
Those bright sparks at Pixar have done it again, taking a fiercely original approach to...
Slick direction and meaty performances may be enough for some viewers, but this boxing drama's...
Loose and impressionistic, this beautifully shot film traces the career of a DJ who pioneered...
Without a single moment of originality, this found-footage horror movie really deserves to be the...
An intriguing premise keeps the audience gripped for about 20 minutes before the movie runs...