CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS: Yummy!
CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS (animated comedy, also in 3D)
Cast: Anna Faris, Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, Bruce Campbell, James Caan, Tracy Morgan and Mr. T
Director: Christopher Miller and Phil Lord
Time: 81 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)
PREAMBLE: As kids, we have often wished that gumdrops and soda pop would fall from the sky instead of just raindrops. This fantasy is translated in a children's book called Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Jodi and Ron Barrett. The book is thus animated and expanded into a mouth-watering (initially, at least) movie by Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation.
Those who have read the 30-page book would like this big screen rendition. Those who have not may find the film weird at first - but are likely to have their curiosity and appetites warmed up.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? It is about a young inventor named Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader). Living on a tiny island in the Atlantic called Swallow Falls, Flint is not exactly a smart or successful inventor. His spray-on shoes, for instance, comes with a problem: One cannot take out the shoes. All Flint wants to do is to please his father (James Caan) and make him proud of his only son, but all his old man wants is for Flint to run the family tackle shop in a town famous for sardines.
One day, Flint invents a device that transforms water into any kind of food, and for once, the gizmo actually works (well, sort of). Accidentally launched into the sky, the machine sucks in clouds and spits out burgers, bacon and eggs showering food on the town, giving weather reporter Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) a field day.
HITS & MISSES: This is the first animated feature directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who previously wrote the short-lived “Clone High” on MTV. It is a predictable tale of youthful ambition, puppy love, fatherly love and the quest for approval. These are stuff that any child can relate to and what's nice about the movie is that it does not leave a soppy, 'moralistic' aftertaste.
Also, I like it that themes like junk food, obesity and solid wastes are just skimmed through without making a big deal of them. After all, this is just plain kiddie-inspired lunacy fleshed out in the latest digital and 3D effects. Like, when it first rains junk food, you want to reach out and grab some. Later, when a food storm hits town, you really wanna duck, or seek shelter.
THE LOWDOWN: A visually and intellectually delicious dish.