Film serves up humor for audiences young and old
In a city that has perfect weather, sometimes you just want it to rain. But when it does, it is not typically in the same fashion as in the animated film Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs.
The action-packed film, based on the childrenâs book of the same name, tells the story of a weather phenomenon in the small town of Chewandswallow, and it does so with a sense of humor perfect for all ages.
Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs stars Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) as a young inventor who simply cannot get it right. After trying everything, he finally invents a machine that turns water into food. The invention changes the town, for better or for worse, into a landing pit for a storm of meatballs, spaghetti, burgers, ice cream â you name it.
Inevitably, the townspeople get greedy, and the machine goes haywire from request overload. Giant food items fly everywhere, creating an obscure kind of apocalypse. Flint struggles to save his people from the disaster, fighting flying olives and pointy peanut brittle along the way.
Flintâs adventure is filled with comedy â the kind that most animated features always manage to surprise older viewers with. The puns and adult inside jokes â such as Flintâs father being technologically inept â are spiced throughout the film in a way that keeps the cynical minds of grown-ups smiling the whole time.
Cloudy demonstrates aspects common in great childrenâs movies, and then some. Of course the animation is flawless (Flintâs hair looks so real I almost whipped out my comb), but itâs the writing that really brings this movie to life.
Writer-director team Phil Lord and Chris Miller do a fantastic job of elaborating on the classic short story, offering every one of its strange elements a backstory. You may recognize screenshots from the beloved book, such as the giant pancake that lands on a house, and it is truly marvelous the way they come to life. After an hour, you will have learned the origins of Chewandswallowâs name, as well as gained some insight into Flintâs motivation for success â a struggle for his fatherâs respect.
Yes, the film has some serious social undertones. From this âmake daddy proudâ issue to a subtle commentary on obesity, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs will bring out reactions and emotions you didnât plan on experiencing when you decided to see a childrenâs movie.
Adding to the filmâs appeal are the colorful cast of characters, each of which fills a stereotypical childrenâs movie role but in a delightfully entertaining way. Part of this uniqueness may be due to the voices themselves â the dim-witted town idol is played by Andy Samberg; the ditzy weathergirl, who is secretly a nerd, is voiced by Anna Faris; and the mean cop with a soft heart is played by none other than Mr. T. Perhaps most surprisingly, the filmmakers somehow convinced Neil Patrick Harris to play the voice of Steve, Flintâs lovable pet monkey.
The film features comedic lines the quality of corny stand-up and a cast I would pay to watch with or without 3-D glasses and, on top of that, its story is actually very innovative. Aside from the fact that not every PG-rated picture features flying junk food, this filmâs character development is strong and itâs plot progression is fairly unpredictable.
The jokes are frequent, but the action is nonstop. There is enough slapstick to entertain the child who doesnât quite get it when Flint says heâs got âsome diem to carpe,â and there is enough intrigue behind the airborne fortune cookies to keep the action appealing to an older audience.
The movie has entertainment value through the roof, no matter who you are. Walking into a theater full of 10-year-olds may be discouraging if youâre looking for an evening of high culture, but thereâs nothing quite like a kidâs movie to make you smile in the middle of the school year.
Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs receives good marks on every level. Itâs fun for the whole family, providing comedy, action and adventure. However, the film does present one unfortunate problem: You are guaranteed to feel hungry afterwards and, after seeing what junk food can do to a city, you may regret paying for concessions.