CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
Film Review: ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2’ Wins with Foodimals, Overemphasizes Humans
CHICAGO – I was paying attention to the movie. Correction: I was mostly paying attention to the movie. It was challenging to ignore my angry, empty stomach and fully enjoy the food coma that is “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2”. Just don’t make the same mistake I did and eat first.
To justify a sequel, a mostly new filmmaking team converted inanimate food that rained from the sky to living, breathing and speaking “foodimals”.
The star of the foodimals? Barry the strawberry, who turns out to be the star of the film. Like his fellow foodimals, Barry is an ambulatory chunk of food spawned from an invention that goes by the mumbled name “FLDSMDFR”. In the sequel, the FLDSMDFR has been popping out food on the island of Swallow Falls since the first film.
Kid Critic Rating: 3.5/5.0
BAD: I wanted to see less fight scenes and more about the personalities of the foodimals.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who wrote and directed the first film, still wrote the story in the sequel. But in “Cloudy 2,” first-time directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn took the helm with a screenplay by John Francis Daley (“Horrible Bosses”) and Jonathan M. Goldstein (“Horrible Bosses”).
While we’re led to believe the foodimals need to be exterminated, they’re just living out their lives and trying to survive against a mad scientist who wants to exploit them and achieve global domination (as all mad scientists do).
This team had the right idea with Barry, who is initially obsessed with the word “enwoo!” for no apparent understanding. Funny, adorable and always stealing the screen’s spotlight, Barry is voiced by none other than the film’s co-director Cody Cameron (who even doubles as Dill Pickle).
We got to know the human characters. Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) is a wide-eyed, budding scientist with a good heart and a bad role model. Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) is his friend and love interest. Chester V (Will Forte) is the bad, mad scientist Flint aspires to impress. Terry Crews is the funny Earl Devereaux: the town’s athletic cop who’s obsessed with his kid trying to grow chest hair.
Image credit: Sony Pictures Animation