Friday, September 24, 2010

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
2009. Rated PG, 90 minutes.
Bill Hader
Anna Faris
James Caan
Andy Samberg
Bruce Campbell
Mr. T
Bobb’e J. Thompson
Benjamin Bratt
Neil Patrick Harris

Ariel Winter

Flint Lockwood (Hader) yearns to be a successful inventor. As you can imagine, he’s also a social outcast on Swallow Falls, the tiny island he calls home. We’re told it is right beneath the “A” in Atlantic Ocean, if you were looking for it on a map. From his elementary school days until sometime in his twenties, one invention after another of his fails. One day, he accidentally discovers a way to make it literally rain food. From that point on, everything changes for him. He becomes the island’s most famous and beloved citizen, even becoming known around the world.

Of course, there are plenty of bumps in the road after that or there wouldn’t be much of a movie. The eventual dilemma leads to a climax far too similar to the dreaded, Armageddon. Thankfully, everything before that is much better handled.

The screen is filled with fun imagery. In particular, the ice cream scene stands out. More than any other in the film, it’s a representation of something almost all kids wonder about, especially if they grow up somewhere where it snows. On top of that, the circumstances surrounding it is heart-warming. It’s rather hard not to crack a smile while it plays.

The story is pretty straight-forward. However, it does mix in some social commentary about greed, gluttony and the environment. Still, it’s subtle enough that you don’t feel like you’ve been bludgeoned with someone else’s morality.

As with any other kiddie-flick, there are some laughs to be had. For me, I found it more touching than funny. In that vein, it’s similar to Up. Another major factor in animated fare is the voice-work. Here, it’s very good. Hader is solid in the lead, as is Farris. James Caan and Bruce Campbell are excellent. Surprisingly, the standout is Mr. T as Earl, seemingly the island’s only cop. As a regular actor, Mr. T was nothing special. He made his bones on his persona, not his acting chops. As a voice actor, he’s outstanding. I hope to hear more of him, in the future.

If you’re not totally aversed to kiddie-flicks, take a gander at Cloudy. It’s one you can actually enjoy sitting through with the little ones.

The Opposite View: Amy Biancolli, San Francisco Chronicle

What the Internet Says: 7.2/10 on (9/24/10), 86% on, 66/100 on

MY SCORE: 7.5/10

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