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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Animated characters are seen in the movie "Cloudy With Chance of Meatballs 2."
A second helping of colorful fun is served up in the cheerful animated sequel "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2" (Columbia).

Loosely based, like its 2009 predecessor, on a book by Judi and Ron Barrett, directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn's comedy elevates friendship and teamwork over egotism, and re-echoes a familiar—but nonetheless valuable—message about environmental responsibility. Some parents, however, will not appreciate the predictable appearance of a bit of potty humor, or the inclusion in the dialogue of a duo of slightly coarse exclamations rhyming with granola.

Set precisely one minute after the action of the original came to an end, this follow-up kicks off with some bad news for our returning hero, nerdy but endearing Flint Lockwood (voice of Bill Hader).

Flint, the young inventor of the machine that caused so much mayhem the last time out—a device capable of turning water into food—learns that the mechanism, which he thought had been disabled, has, in fact, continued to function and is now producing animals made out of menu items. This information comes to him courtesy of Chester V (voice of Will Forte), the famed scientist and corporate guru (a la Steve Jobs) Flint has long idolized.

Since the hybrid creatures his brainchild is manufacturing are multiplying rapidly, and have the potential to overrun the world, Flint must return to his island-set hometown, Swallow Falls—where he abandoned the gizmo—and try to shut it down for good. He's joined on this quest by his protective dad Tim (voice of James Caan) as well as by his best friend—and potential love interest—TV meteorologist Sam Sparks (voice of Anna Faris).

Flint gets additional backup from a team of other characters familiar to viewers of the first movie: sprightly simian Steve the Monkey (voiced by Neil Patrick Harris), good-hearted doofus Brent (voice of Andy Samberg), muscle-bound police officer Earl Devereaux (voice of Terry Crews) and Sam's imperturbable cameraman Manny (voiced by Benjamin Bratt).

Early on, we discover—though Flint does not—that Chester has a hidden agenda. To fulfill it, he consistently tries to sow discord between Flint and his pals, especially Sam, by exhorting Flint to be a solitary hero.

If Chester isn't what he initially appears to be, neither, it turns out, are the so-called "foodimals" the gang encounters along the way.

Some, like the cheespiders (giant cheeseburgers with French-fry legs) and tacodiles (towering dinosaurs composed of taco shells and fillings), may seem ferocious at first blush. But others, like a plucky little strawberry Sam christens Barry and a host of hug-hungry marshmallows, are quite cuddly —so much so that Sam begins to have second thoughts about Flint's mission to interfere with their creation.

Aside from the few ill-chosen ingredients mentioned above, "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2" makes a tasty, if not especially substantial, cinematic meal for the whole family.

The film contains a few bathroom-based jokes and a couple of very mild vulgarities. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II—adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG—parental guidance suggested.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.



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Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions: Andrew Dung-Lac was one of 117 people martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. Members of this group were beatified on four different occasions between 1900 and 1951. All were canonized by St. John Paul II. 
<p>Christianity came to Vietnam (then three separate kingdoms) through the Portuguese. Jesuits opened the first permanent mission at Da Nang in 1615. They ministered to Japanese Catholics who had been driven from Japan. </p><p>The king of one of the kingdoms banned all foreign missionaries and tried to make all Vietnamese deny their faith by trampling on a crucifix. Like the priest-holes in Ireland during English persecution, many hiding places were offered in homes of the faithful. </p><p>Severe persecutions were again launched three times in the 19th century. During the six decades after 1820, between 100,000 and 300,000 Catholics were killed or subjected to great hardship. Foreign missionaries martyred in the first wave included priests of the Paris Mission Society, and Spanish Dominican priests and tertiaries. </p><p>Persecution broke out again in 1847 when the emperor suspected foreign missionaries and Vietnamese Christians of sympathizing with a rebellion led by of one of his sons. </p><p>The last of the martyrs were 17 laypersons, one of them a 9-year-old, executed in 1862. That year a treaty with France guaranteed religious freedom to Catholics, but it did not stop all persecution. </p><p>By 1954 there were over a million and a half Catholics—about seven percent of the population—in the north. Buddhists represented about 60 percent. Persistent persecution forced some 670,000 Catholics to abandon lands, homes and possessions and flee to the south. In 1964, there were still 833,000 Catholics in the north, but many were in prison. In the south, Catholics were enjoying the first decade of religious freedom in centuries, their numbers swelled by refugees. </p><p>During the Vietnamese war, Catholics again suffered in the north, and again moved to the south in great numbers. Now the whole country is under Communist rule.</p> American Catholic Blog To replace our sins with virtues may seem like a daunting task, but fortunately we can follow the example of the saints who have 
successfully defeated these sins in their lifetimes. They provide us with a way forward so that we, too, can live holy, virtuous lives.

 
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