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Originally published Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 3:07 PM

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‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2’ tastes like leftovers

A movie review of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2,” a colorful sequel with few laughs and fewer innovations.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Movie Review 2 stars

‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2,’ with the voices of Bill Hader, Will Forte, Anna Faris, James Caan, Benjamin Bratt, Andy Samberg, Terry Crews. Directed by Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, from a screenplay by Erica Rivinoja, John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein. 93 minutes. Rated PG for mild rude humor. Several theaters.

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The Herculean task of any sequel is repeating the experience of the original film, or improving on it. That’s nigh on impossible due to the fact you only get to take the viewing public utterly by surprise once.

The out-of-nowhere novelty and delight of Sony Animation’s “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” are missing in “Meatballs 2.” The design and color palette are as glorious as ever, but the laughs are few and innovations fewer.

Inventor Flint Lockwood’s cuisine-creating weather machine has come to the attention of his idol, corporate scientist and TV-show host Chester V (Will Forte), who worries that the island of Swallow Falls is too dangerous to live on — for now. The gadget is producing food animals — predators, “Taco-diles,” Shrimpanzees and Fla-mangoes. So Chester persuades the town to evacuate.

Eventually, Flint goes back to turn off his errant weather-food machine, braving, with his pals, “an ecosystem of living food.”

The moral lessons, about science making the world a better place (or creating mayhem) and accepting that your children will not always live up to your expectations, are muddier. There’s a villain rather than a runaway technology to battle here. And the villain is bland as oatmeal without the raisins.

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