Now on DVD: "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs"
"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" movie trailer
DVD Release Date: January 5, 2010
There is an ongoing secret in Hollywood that says you can take any kids book and animate it into an on screen film version and it will be a hit. And if there is not enough substance to make it work just do it in 3D and everyone will be too distracted to notice. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs storms into theaters with a movie that would be better off served in smaller portions. Looks great, sounds good and has laughs to go around but the story soon bogs down in repetition.
Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) has long dreamed of being an inventor. Even as a small child he was always trying to create things that would run better, faster, and smarter. Trouble is something always goes wrong. When as an adult his latest catastrophe backfires into something good he thinks he has it made. Flint lives on a small remote island whose only source of food is sardines. So when this latest mishap causes it to rain real, edible food to order Flint instantly becomes the town hero.
This film follows the standard template for animated kid films. There are lots of pratfalls, a cute monkey and well known voices to give it some sort of relate ability to the older audience. Along with SNL’s Hader the voice list includes Anna Faris, James Caan, Andy Samberg and the unmistakable Mr. T as the island’s intense policeman. Faris plays a spunky weathergirl who catches Flint’s eye. The dork factor of their characters is funny and endearing. As I mentioned the film looks fabulous and I dare you to try and get through it without your stomach grumbling from all the delicious looking food falling from the sky.
Like most kid films this one has a few lessons to be learned and it plays these out without being heavy handed. In this day and age of trying to get kids to eat right you have to be careful with a movie that shows happiness as an all you can eat ice cream buffet. The filmmakers do a decent job of showing the negative effects of over indulgence. Also there is a strong message of accepting the talents and dreams of others. Flint’s dad has a hard time getting on board with his son’s choice of vocation. And like most dads he has an inability to express his true feelings. This adds a very touching moment to the film.
The main issue I have is the length. Though only 90 minutes Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs seems so much longer. The repetition of food falling from the sky is overplayed and the ending drags on with twist after twist. This is not a Clancy film and I felt they tried way too hard to make it suspenseful. It is rated PG for brief mild language. It must have been really brief because I never noticed and found it completely safe and fun for all age groups. I would be careful of loading the kids up with sugar before hand because they may get board about 60 minutes in and you will be bouncing out of their seats. Also, the little tykes may have a hard time wearing the big 3D glasses the whole time Otherwise it is one I am sure they will enjoy. I give it 3 out of 5 blizzards. Nothing ground breaking but a nice transition from page to screen. So says Matt Mungle