It takes a person with a certain disposition who can enjoy living in a small town. They find comfort in knowing their neighbors, bumping into friends at the local supermarket, having their children attending the same school and living a simpler lifestyle than in a large metropolis. I am so not one of those individuals; in fact, I would probably get claustrophobic if I had to live in a small town. Being born and raised in a large city, I find comfort in the anonymity of being part of the masses. I do not know if it is due to how I was raised or to the hostile environment I experienced in high school, but for years I have always felt safer being invisible and not standing out. Now I will say I do not have a problem visiting small towns. There is something to be said for kicking back and going at a slower pace from time to time. If you can appreciate the attributes of small town living, you might get a quicker kick out of this dramatic adventure film. When mentally confused Woody Grant, played by Bruce Dern (Monster, Last Man Standing), received a notice stating he could be a million dollar sweepstakes winner, he was determined to make his way from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska to pick up his winnings–even if he had to go on foot. With his youngest son David, played by Will Forte (The Watch, MacGruber), being the only family member to show compassion for his dad, they took off on a road trip that brought them some unexpected surprises. This beautiful black and white film directed by Alexander Payne (The Descendants, About Schmidt) unfolded like the sipping of a sweet tea on a lazy summer day. There were no big or thrilling moments per se; instead, scenes bloomed with satiric wit and touching realizations. The actor that stole ever scene she was in was June Squibb (Meet Joe Black, Scent of a Woman) as Woody’s wife Kate. She was a hoot with her take no prisoners persona. I found myself being drawn into this quirky story as it revealed more and more the realities of small town living. There were several scenes where I laughed out loud as the stellar acting carried us along for the ride. Though I still would not want to live in a tiny residential area, I would gladly go visit this family and sit down to a piece of homemade pie and some iced tea.
3 2/3 stars
My credentials to review this movie go back to my childhood. The pretzel rods I would snack on were really rocket ships, which would patrol around me as I was watching television. There was a particular butter cookie, shaped like the head of a daisy with a hole in the middle, that emitted a force field when I wore them as rings on my fingers. I not only enjoyed eating my food but playing with it too. There was hardly a food that could not become something to play with, simply by using my imagination. In this animated sequel the creative ways used to bring food items to life was fun and enjoyable to watch. I did not see the first film so I cannot make a comparison between the two. Bill Hader (Paul, Superbad) voiced young inventor Flint Lockwood. When invited to join some of the best scientists in the world at the Live Corp Company, Flint jumped at the chance to meet his idol Chester V, voiced by Will Forte (MacGruber, The Watch). Though the company’s mission was to create inventions that would better mankind, Flint’s past would play an important part in the company’s future. I thought the casting of voices such as Terry Crews (Bridesmaids, The Expendables franchise) as Earl Devereaux, Anna Faris (The House Bunny, The Dictator) as Sam Sparks and James Caan (Misery, Elf) as Tim Lockwood was the best part of the predictable story. The humor was geared towards young children leaving me a bit bored. Once in a while there was a joke that I acknowledged as being clever but nothing that was worth a chuckle. I got a kick out of the animation because it reminded me of the animated movies I saw as a kid. At one point I took a look around the theater and noticed the kids were interested in the movie while the adults appeared to fidget in their seats. This family comedy did not have the style and depth of some of the other film studios’ animated features. If you have a young child who wants to see this film they will probably enjoy it. If you go, stay through the first set of credits. As for myself, I left the theater with a strong desire to grab a bite to eat.