Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

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A fun and cleverly silly cartoon comedy that kickstarted the wild style of Phil Lord and Chris Miller in the movie world. After seeing ‘The Lego Movie’ I can clearly see the same quick paced hilarity and smarts involved from these two directors and it works well here as food rains down from the skies and madness is built on time and time again.

Flint Lockwood is a budding inventor and after a string of madcap ideas he finally manages to design something that works great. A machine that transforms water into edible food. After a downpour of cheeseburgers the sad town becomes a hotspot and people love Lockwood even if this could cost the man his father, a new love interest and the safety of said town.

This is actually a very sweet film with a nice message and an emotional family thread to ground the nonsensical happenings of spaghetti tornadoes and falling steaks. The back story is pretty raw for an animation mirroring sad losses from that of ‘Up’ and ‘Frozen’, a trend that seems to be occurring recently after the way was paved with ‘Bambi’ and ‘The Lion King.’ The dad is lost to how to deal with his energetic hairbrained son and his characteristics come across well with the eyebrows and mustache covering his eyes and mouth, as if metaphorically saying he can’t see how wonderful Flint is and how he can’t put into words how to talk him down or tell him how proud he is. A clever little animation tool and other visuals throughout are poignant, such as the way to have the peppy blonde girl become more natural and speccy, a good Hollywood message for once letting children understand being a ‘nerd’ or different isn’t bad. Visuals in this movie in general are funny too, from the spray on shoes that are still on after the opening childhood segment and the bouncy realistic cartoon look of the jello masterpiece.

The voice acting suits wonderfully in adding to the pacy tone and with comedy people involved like with Bill Hader, Anna Faris and Andy Samberg you get a more comically timed set of characters that work well in this set up of Swallow Falls. The best thing is the brilliant delivery of Hader as Flint when narrating his actions. The quick cuts and the enthusiasm in which he says things when making something are hilarious, so too are the way in which they spoof countries with London taking a serious amount of the flack which carries on superbly into the closing credits. The news report saying all landmarks being hit first before everywhere else is also fantastic in poking fun at how it’s always at some place recognisable like the Eiffel Tower that danger happens.

This is a silly yet funny movie that will delight children with it’s snappy look and interest adults with it’s intelligent humour. The constant turn ups of past inventions are nice golden touches to also provide a sense that Lockwood has made things that are the norm now and aren’t that bad, the TV turning up in the midst of the hill and walking off is genius, situated at just the right time that you sort of forget about that creation but not enough that when it comes back you don’t still find it funny. The monkey is crazy too with his voice thoughts being projected near constantly, the running with scissors call out is also brilliant and so too is the greedy mayor as he grows fatter and fatter and his unveiling of a Sardine amusement park is stupidly bizarre.

With the breakneck speed of the jokes and visuals it’s clear it’s aimed more at younger audiences as sometimes it becomes a little too much and the escalation to get to the insane disaster element of the film is just there leaving even more madness to ensue as sandwich yachts are made and Lockwood tries to reach his machine with the help of Sam Sparks and the annoying Brent. The whole chicken thing is too stupid and it wraps up the ending pretty quickly to make things all cool and happy.

A funny animation that looks cool and tasty; from the food that lights up the eye and imagination to the characters that fit the crazy nature of the town and story. A sometimes overbearingly fast paced cartoon though crammed with jokes and puns aplenty to put a smile on people of all ages.

7.5/10

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