“Cloudy” A Highly Entertaining Treat
For most food-lovers, the idea of cheeseburgers raining down from the sky, of gigantic pancakes and pools of ice cream lining the streets, might seem like a dream come true.
In “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” the film adaptation of Judi and Ron Barrett’s popular children’s book of the same title, the townspeople of Swallow Falls realize this dream when they wake up one morning to a mysterious weather system of fried eggs and bacon raining down from the sky. While this movie strays drastically from the plot of the original book, the ensuing action is entertaining and hilarious enough to hold the viewer’s attention, and make Cloudy a silly treat for viewers of all ages.
The man responsible for the bizarre weather patterns of Shallow Falls, soon to be re-named Chewandswallow, is young inventor Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader of SNL-fame). In an expansion of the plot of the book, which was too short to fit a full-length film, we are introduced to Flint, who spends most of his time in his laboratory creating zany contraptions like “spray-on shoes” and a monkey-thought translator. Flint struggles to gain approval from his father, (James Caan) who runs a sardine shop in town.
In fact, the entire town of Swallow Falls is based on the export of sardines, the only food product available – that is, until Flint’s newest invention turns things upside-down. Flint has made a machine that converts water into food, and after this machine is accidentally launched into the atmosphere, each weather cycle brings more and more food from the sky. Covering the action is local weatherwoman Sam Sparks (Anna Faris), who predictably becomes Flint’s love interest.
At first Flint’s invention is seen as a Godsend, and Flint becomes an overnight celebrity, but over time Flint’s machine spirals out of control. While Cloudy, with its manic animations and colorful images, is geared towards a young demographic, it still packs somewhat of a moral punch, criticizing a society of excess. The residents of Swallow Falls go wild for Flint’s invention, but eventually someone has to pay the check.
Cloudy presents an exhilarating viewing experience, especially in 3-D as it is being shown in selected theaters. Such zany hijinks as tornados made from spaghetti and flying meatballs are sure to dazzle viewers of all ages. And where else can you find a love scene that takes place inside a giant mold of Jell-O?
The movie also features surprisingly witty dialogue and some hysterical voice work, notably from Andy Samberg, who plays the comically pompous child star Brent, and Mr. T, who is as outrageous as ever as the local policeman Earl Devereux. Adding to the wackiness, Neil Patrick Harris is featured as the voice of a monkey named Steve.
If this sounds just a little silly, that’s because it is. But what makes Cloudy an enjoyable viewing experience is that the movie has a cheeky aspect of sarcasm about its own silliness.
And this witty goofiness, combined with great voice work and some wildly fun animations, are the ingredients of a movie worth watching.
– Ben Kochman