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I’ll admit, I wasn’t a big fan of the original “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.”

It was based on a creative premise, but fell prey to some pretty big clichés and had a few, frankly, creepy elements.

So when I saw a sequel advertised, I was skeptical. The idea is no longer creative or unique – what would a sequel have going for it?

If nothing else, however, the movie at least portrays a moral of the story that is memorable, honorable and even biblical.

The storyline picks up with aspiring young inventor Flint Lockwood, whose blunders and bravery in the first film created a disaster, but left him with a new set of friends and a patched up relationship with his dad.

His invention, however – a machine that made it “rain” food, turning water into cheeseburgers, ice cream, spaghetti, strawberries and every other food imaginable – had made a giant mess of his island home, particularly as the raining food turned out giant-sized. The poor mechanical gizmo, therefore, had to be unplugged.

In the sequel, Flint’s childhood idol, a TV scientist and inventor named Chester V, shows up on the scene to help clean up Flint’s island mess of super-sized leftovers.

Chester V, however, has an ulterior motive and may not be the noble scientist young Flint had idolized.

In fact, Chester V fills Flint’s head with notions of grandeur, tempts him with glory and specifically pushes him to dump his friends in favor of achievement. As the obvious villain in the movie, Chester V is clearly supposed to be preaching anti-lessons, the idea being that youngsters will actually learn the opposite.

Now on one hand – and here is why I write these reviews; if you’re going to have your children watch this, you’ll want to stop afterward to discuss this part – many kids today probably should learn to seek achievement over “friendship.” Too many teenagers, in particular, forgo their studies, their character, their future in favor of hanging out with their pals instead. Noble ambition is shockingly absent in public schools today. Chester V may seem “right on” with his lesson.

But as the movie progresses, it becomes clear that Flint’s friends support him in his achievements, want him to succeed – they’re good friends.

Chester V, however, is revealed as a manipulative sort that takes Flint’s earnest drive to achieve and selfless desire to help the world and twists it into selfish ambition and the goal of being savior. And if Flint’s friends offer wise counsel to the contrary, Chester V insists, Flint should cast them aside to chase his vain conceits instead.

It may be a subtle difference, but the line between noble desires and sinful lusts can be a fine one, and learning to discern the divide is a valuable tool – especially in the younger audiences most likely drawn to “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.”

The film itself offered me, as an adult, marginal entertainment value and only a few hearty laughs. Most of the jokes fell into the lame pun territory (“Oh, no! It’s a tacodile! Supreme!).

But for younger audiences that will love all the food gags, dazzling colors and cornball action, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2″ is a fun, values-affirming film.

For those with ears to hear and eyes to see – meaning you, Moms and Dads – it also offers a great springboard for talking with your youngsters about, say, Philippians 2:3 – “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”

Content advisory

  • “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2,” rated PG, contains no obscenity or profanity, but a few similar expressions, like, “Oh, fudge,” and an electronic device called a “B.S. USB.” There are a few “poop and booger” jokes that may make parents groan, but only a few.
  • The film has only some minor sexuality, including a kiss and an overweight character who appears for laughs in a diaper or “skinny jeans” or sunbathing.
  • The movie has some peril and cartoon violence, a bit of slapstick and a character who gets hit in the groin with a volleyball. Outside of running from some slightly frightening “food monsters,” however, it’s pretty mild.
  • There are no significant religious or occult references.

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