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Flint Lockwood lives in Swallow Falls, a town built on sardines.
He spends his days pursuing praise by forging new machines.
His father doesn’t “get” what he is trying to achieve,
So Flint works solo in his lab with talking monkey Steve.
Sardines aren’t very tasty so he tries a new invention,
A bot debuted to conjure food (from water, I should mention).
It doesn’t work as he had hoped and flies into the sky,
But soon it’s raining cheeseburgers, which captures every eye.
Flint builds a new computer to connect with his device;
As orders call, he fills them all, thanks to the Mayor’s advice.
He also bonds with one Sam Sparks, a perky weather girl,
Who spreads the news of food-inspired rain around the world.
From pies that plummet to the plate to scoops of sherbet snow
To steaks that soar to dish or floor, Flint’s gadget doesn’t slow.
The food gets ever bigger, and, though Flint could shut it down,
He doesn’t want to wreck the recognition of his town.
His father still believes this food anomaly is wrong,
But Flint’s own fears are drowned by cheers till problems come along.
In front of everybody, Flint’s contraption goes berserk,
And he can’t turn it off because the Mayor is a jerk.
A tasty storm attacks the world, but Flint and his few friends
Fly up to stop the constant drop of meals, to make amends.
Though faced with sentient food-y foes (with logic in suspension),
Flint stops his evil gadget with another old invention.
Though Swallow Falls was leveled by an avalanche of food,
The people cheer when Flint draws near, to show their gratitude.
Then Flint and Sam embrace in the enthusiastic crowd,
And Flint’s impassive father indirectly says he’s proud.

I don’t know whether to call Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs ridiculous inspiration or inspired ridiculousness. The main concept is so simple—food raining from the sky—but the writers milk every imaginative variance on this idea such that the total film exceeds the sum of its parts. Yes, we’ve seen some of this before (the misunderstanding parent and the he’s-dead-no-wait-never-mind cliché), but the directing and writing team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller give the material the same energetically original edge that made the recent Lego Movie a much bigger success than it might have been. Where else can you hear the matter-of-fact usage of the term amuse-bouche, along with a joke questioning its meaning?

The animation is impressive, though highly cartoony at times, and the voices are well-cast, including Bill Hader as Flint Lockwood, Anna Faris as Sam Sparks, James Caan as Flint’s dad, and the incomparable Mr. T as the over-zealous policeman Earl, along with Bruce Campbell, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, and Neil Patrick Harris in supporting roles.

Yet the comedy is the star, and the jokes fly out at an incredible rate. Sometimes they are so quick that a blink will cause you to miss something; other times, it takes half the movie for a funny line to pay off. Though some of the humor is awkward and obnoxious, particularly in the character of former-baby Brent, the multitude of sight gags, food puns, and laugh-out-loud moments, along with the touching culmination of Flint’s relationship with his dad, makes Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs a film worth seeing again and again.

Best line (oh, to have to choose): (Manny, the deadpan cameraman/doctor) “You are going to need a co-pilot.”
(Sam) “You’re a pilot, too?”
(Manny) “Yes. I am also a particle physicist.”
(Sam) “Really?”
(Manny) “No, that was a joke. I am also a comedian.”


Artistry: 2
Characters/Actors: 5
Entertainment: 8
Visual Effects: 7
Originality: 9
Watchability: 8
Other (some awkward parts): -2
TOTAL: 37 out of 60

Next: #246 – Lady and the Tramp

© 2014 S. G. Liput

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