Silver Chips Online

A fulfilling journey with showers of laughter

"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" humors hungry audiences

By Blake Morgan-Gamber, Online Features and Sports Editor
September 20, 2009
Any day now, an animated motion picture filled with a talking monkey, spray on shoes, a vicious herd of rat-birds, and some seriously strange weather, will be falling out of the sky into a theater near you. In an attempt to remake a children's book for the big screen, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller successfully turn Judi Barrett's "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" into a delicious 3D animation film. "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" leaves audiences of all ages with full stomachs and opened imaginations.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

(released September 18, 2009)
"Interactions between Flint and Sam are awkward yet charming." <i>Picture courtesy of allmoviephoto.com. </i>
Chips Rating:
4 stars
PG
User Rating:
0 stars Votes: 3
"Interactions between Flint and Sam are awkward yet charming." Picture courtesy of allmoviephoto.com.
The movie opens with Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader), a wacky, lonely inventor, pursuing his quest to invent something great. As a young boy, Flint was misunderstood by both his classmates and his father and looked to a lab coat his mother gave him for inspiration. Flint grows into a passionate and enthusiastic young man; he builds a laboratory in the backyard of his father's house which becomes the home to dozens of his failed inventions. Despite his repeated failures, Flint never loses determination.

The film is packed with humor simply because of the outrageous story line, for Flint becomes consumed with the major problem of his hometown: a lack of food other than sardines. Swallow Falls, a remote island located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, once was famous for its plentiful number of sardines until one day, "everyone realized sardines are really gross." The resulting abundance of fish leads to a Swallow Falls diet that consists solely of sardines. To save his town, Flint constructs a machine that will turn water into any food one desires. When the machine blasts into the sky, however, the weather of Swallow Falls goes haywire, while also becoming scrumptious.

Also, captivating in the plot is Flint's blossoming relationship with Sam Sparks (Anna Faris), an insecure TV weather channel intern, who tries to hide her inner genius for science. Flint and Sam are brought together when Flint's invention causes the sky to rain cheeseburgers. Sam is in awe of the weather phenomenon, and when Flint explains that he is responsible, Sam begs him to take her to his laboratory to see how the machine works. The quirkiness and awkwardness of Flint and Sam's efforts to advance their friendship are endearing to the audience.

Although romance enters his life for the first time, Flint's most difficult relationship is with his father. In spite of the town-wide optimism over Flint's food bearing invention, Flint's father remains skeptical. He expresses his wish for Flint to disable the machine because he doesn't feel it is best for the town. Flint does not realize that the "dangometer" on his machine has sky rocketed, causing the produced food to mutate and grow precariously larger in size. Caught up in his dual ability to control the weather and provide food for his townó and despite warnings from his fatheró Flint fails to recognize the dilemma he faces. It is not until a treacherous storm of spaghetti and meat balls hits Swallow Falls and begins to spread into other parts of the world that Flint realizes his mistake and must turn to his unsupportive father for aid.

While the quirky narrative keeps the audience's interest, the 3D effects were poorly executed. The animation and appearance of the characters overall were adorable, however, the three-dimensional effect did not enhance the overall features. Had the 3D effects been more intricate, it would have been exhilarating to watch as food rained out of the sky and off the screen. In this delightful, animated flick, Lord and Miller invent an appetizing treat. The next time audience members are hungry, they may long to the sky for something as delectable as "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs."

"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" (90 minutes) is rated PG for brief mild language. Now playing in theaters everywhere.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/9345