Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is one of those enlightening pick me up kind of movies great for a rainy day. It’s great for the kids too. This 3D animated adventure, based on a popular children’s book by Judi and Ron Barrett, delivers a “never give up on your dreams” message in a most peculiar way — with food raining out of the sky.
And that’s all thanks to an introvert named Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) and his convert water to any kind of food imaginable machine. Want hamburgers? You got it. Want Neapolitan ice cream? No problem. Want spaghetti and meatballs? Sure thing. But just like any good thing, too much of it is a bad thing. Bad is what happens when everyone in the town bombards Flint with vanity food requests. Bad is what happens when the mayor insists that Flint ignore his crude warning system and put the machine to task for his great town reopening.
Adding both of those variables together spells disaster for the small island of Chewandswallow (undergoing a rebirth as Swallow Falls) and quite possibly to the world.
But, after the spaghetti tornado and prior to the all food hurricane, the hero opportunity presents itself to Flint and fledgling weathergirl and would-be girlfriend, Sam Sparks (voiced by Anna Faris). Together, with the help of Flint’s disapproving father (voiced by James Caan) they brave the assault of kamikaze pizza slices, and angry sentry Gummi bears and chicken breasts.
From a technical standpoint, the CGI for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs appears to have pushed the boundaries a bit further. The clouds, the waves and the various food stuffs are very finely detailed. The food avalanche must have used a lot of CPU cycles to generate. However, from a personal standpoint the modeling of the characters leaves something to be desired. Oversized eyes and exaggerated noses and hair abound. But the lazy-looking squarish fingertips really irked me, as that reminded me of some cheaply made 80’s Sunday morning cartoon. Children however, won’t notice or care if they did.
I did like Mr.T as the overzealous cop too. His flips and general zaniness brought about a lot of laughter from the kids in the audience.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a nice addition to the ever growing list of 3D animated family flicks. It’s got plenty going on to entertain old and young alike. And if anything else it teaches us to embrace our inner nerd. After all it’s been said, the nerds will inherit the Earth (just not the mineral rights).