Featuring the Voices of:
Bill Hader as Flint Lockwood
Anna Faris as Sam Sparks
James Caan as Tim Lockwood
Andy Samberg as 'Baby' Brent
Bruce Campbell as Mayor Shelbourne
Mr. T as Earl Devereaux
Written and Directed by Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Running Time: 1:30
Rated PG for brief mild language.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was a surprisingly entertaining film that has something for both kids and adults.
Since he was a baby, Flint was always interested in science. While his father wanted him to join the family business, Flint set his sights on inventing things. From spray-on shoes to a device that lets monkey's talk, Flint was out there. But when his hometown's main business falls apart and the entire town is left to eat a backlog of sardines, Flint comes up with his greatest invention - the ability to turn water into food. But his experiment goes awry and flies up into the atmosphere where remakably, it starts to work. So instead of rain and snow, hamburgers start to fall from the sky. Flint is hailed as a hero but, as always, things start to fall apart. With more and more people making food requests, the machine begins go crazy, leaving the small island town on the brink of disaster, unless Flint and his new squeeze, weather intern Sam Sparks, can save the day.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was adapated from the beloved children's book. I remember reading it as a kid, but unfortunately I don't remember much of the story, so I can't say how different the movie is, but I'm guessing they changed a lot. What surprised me the most about the movie was how funny it was. Kids will love the film because, well, there is a lot of food that comes crashing from the sky. And really, who doesn't love watching children play in big piles of ice cream? But for the adults, there's a lot of throwaway lines that are extremely funny, and the movie starts off that way and never lets up. Bill Hader does the voice of Flint, which I really liked because he's not an A-list star whose voice overshadows the animation. So that leaves you to pay attention to what is being said, as opposed to who is saying it.
Visually the movie was fantastic. I saw it on the fake IMAX screen on 42nd street in 3D and the animation was amazing. Animated movies in 3D can be hit or miss, but this one worked really well. 3D movies no longer do much with the whole 'let's make the audience feel like something is coming out of the screen' thing, but instead take a softer approach. But when done right, it can make you feel like you're part of the film (even if it is animated). I was completely into the movie the entire time and kind of wish it had gone on a little longer. While the story was much more lighthearted than some other 3D animated films from this summer, it's a strong enough story with serious elements to keep it going.
There was a secondary storyline that involved Flint's relationship with his dad that was mimicked by the relationship between the police offer in the film and his son. The police officer (wonderfully voiced by Mr. T) was always telling his son he loved him, and always looking out for him. Flint's dad (voiced by James Caan) was always disappointed in his son, especially after his wife died leaving the two of them alone. Everything Flint did was to try and get his father's approval, but nothing really worked. It sounds like a downbeat story, but it helped keep the movie even and allowed the film to have another story to throw to when we needed to take a break from the falling food. Anna Faris does the voice of Sam Sparks and was easily the most recognizable voice in the cast.
There was never a moment during the film where I felt like I wanted to look at my watch. The movie runs along at a pretty good pace, alternating between comedy and action, and throwing in some drama as well. There are some really funny secondary characters, including one who was a child star and now decades later is still living off that small fame. The movie never gets into true serious mode, discussing things like, what happens to all the excess food (it gets catapulted into another part of the island) so if you're looking for a movie with deep undertones, try UP instead. If you're looking for a film you can enjoy with your kids, then definitely try this one.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. The 3D animation was fantastic, the story was lighthearted and funny, and it's a movie everyone can enjoy.