Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

2009
Directed by Phill Lord, Chris Miller
Columbia Pictures with Sony Pictures Animation
Starring: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Bruce Campbell (all voices)

Now here’s a slice of fried gold. Whilst Shrek, Sharktale and their ilk depend on adults finding the references to older films funny and throws in a fart gag or two for the youngsters, Sony has opted for the philosophy that a good joke is funny for everyone, regardless of age, which is why Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a joyful success.

Set in ‘small town America’ (sort of), it follows the life of Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader), son of a sardine fisherman and inventor of a machine that turns water into food. The machine starts playing haywire with the atmosphere and soon food is raining down from the skies. Based on a children’s book, Columbia and Sony are clawing at Pixar’s back with this one – the animation is to die for, the cartoon-like characters perfectly juxtaposed against a background that looks more real than real life. Unfortunately, though the food looks good, it doesn’t look as though you could reach in and grab it; those who saw Ratatouille would know what it is like to salivate for an on-screen meal and that sensation is sorely missed here.

Though themes of family and ‘stay true to yourself buddy!’ are somewhat familiar, they don’t overwhelm the spectacle of a sandwich boat or a hot dog the size of a house. No character is wasted or contrived, and even the monkey sidekick has a clever twist that is a game changer as far as monkey side kicks are concerned.

Summery: Bright, breezy, fun and by all rights it should be a family classic.

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