Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)
Release Date: September 18th, 2009 MPAA Rating: PG
Director: Christopher Miller, Phil Lord Actors: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Bruce Campbell, Mr. T, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris
ery loosely based on the acclaimed children’s book of the same name, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” actually succeeds with the modernization and embellished plot. Perhaps diehard fans of the original material will nitpick the expanded mythos, but the film adaptation offers a hearty mix of humor that will appeal to nearly every age group. A wide range and variety of comedy can be found within, from the childish and absurd to the clever and insightful; even self-referential mockery and fat jokes make an appearance. Beneath all the layers of food and fun exists a story of finding love and acceptance, though the impressive visuals and wild laughs leave little room for such morals. And between the man-eating roast chicken and the living gummy bears, one wouldn’t expect those messages to win out anyway.
Ever since he was a child, Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) has dreamed of becoming a great scientist whose inventions would change the world. When he constructs a synthesizer that can change water into food, his dream comes true, and as the sky rains down cheeseburgers, pizza, ice cream, and more, Flint finally achieves the adoration and respect he’s always desired. But when the greedy town mayor demands an ever-increasing assortment of cuisine, the machine overloads, bringing down mountains of meatballs and cyclones of pasta. Now it’s up to Flint, his pet monkey, and nerdy weather girl Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) to save the world from certain extinction by eatables.
The 3D effects being slapped onto almost every computer animated film to hit theaters recently rarely does anything to improve the imaginative visuals. While there are certainly opportunities for random objects to pierce the third dimension and tantalize the audience, “Cloudy” never flaunts the awesomeness of the gimmick. One of the most impressive moments involves a massive food avalanche (foodalanche) that looks amazing either way.
The incredibly obese mayor (Bruce Campbell) provides many of the most hilarious visual gags (along with “sentient” food), the pessimistic dad unloads the downer realism and the deeper emotional revelations, and the elderly and their stereotypical inadequacies with technology are mocked. Audiences are lectured about embracing inner ugliness and supposedly unattractive intelligence, and picking up girls has never been easier than building an enormous, perfectly sculpted, fully furnished Jell-O mansion. Good to know.
Although it’s based on the famous children’s book, many of the beefed up ideas in the film are so ludicrous that they’d never normally work. But with a wildly creative, inventive approach to the environments, character designs, and animation, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” pulls it off. Full of eye-rolling puns, wacky inventions (including the always-necessary mouth funnels), and unbelievable solutions, it’s a deliciously zany, adventurous treat for the whole family.
– The Massie Twins