5-Word 365 #027 – Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs

After yesterday’s mild torment, I wanted something to cleanse the palette. Something light and easy and bright and fun. Luckily for me, today is Kids Film Friday.

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs

Gonna need a bigger umbrella.

Now this is much better. I guess Sony Animation decided they wanted to give Pixar the finger, and this was the result.

Cloudy is all about Flint Lockwood, a young inventor who lives with his father on the small one-town island of Swallow Falls, located “just under the A” in the Atlantic Ocean. Flint has been inventing since he was a kid. His creations usually sort of work but not without flaws. The economy of Swallow Falls is entirely dependent on sardine fishing and the canning plant. Unfortunately the sardine business is not what it used to be and the cannery has closed. With everyone in Swallow Falls now eating nothing but sardines, Flint decides to try his latest invention: a machine that turns water into food (cue dramatic drums). Shockingly, things don’t go quite to plan and the machine ends up in the atmosphere. Even more shockingly, it actually starts to work, and food begins raining from the sky. Not in the least bit shockingly, it starts going wrong again.

The hero's furrowed brow and blown over hair: universal shorthand for "Things are going wrong"

This film has such a sweet-natured charm running through every frame as well as a delightful sense of the absurd. Some of the sight gags are just a joy to behold, particularly in the montage of some of Flint’s failed inventions. This is a movie you need to watch more than once just to catch all it has to offer. I like how it doesn’t pander to its intended audience as well. Yes, a lot of the gags are for kids, but they aren’t dismissive. The film is childlike, but never childish. If you are looking for any deep subtext or moral lessons beyond “follow your dreams” though, I’m afraid you may come away disappointed.

The characters are great fun, and the flick has a lot of cool people doing the voices from Mr T as the town cop, to His Chin-ness, Mr Bruce Campbell as the mayor of Swallow Falls. There’s a bit of a mini-SNL reunion as well, what with Bill Hader as Flint, Andy Samberg as “Baby” Brent – who gets quite an impressive arc for a secondary character in a cartoon – and Will (MacGruber) Forte as Joe. Anna Faris is her typically-winsome self as Sam Sparks, the weathergirl with a secret who Flint falls for. And then we have NPH as Steve the monkey. I think Steve might have overtaken Dug as my favourite artificially-talking animal in a cartoon.


My fear now is that, after these last two weeks, Kids Film Friday is due for a disappointment.

By the way, did any of my half-dozen or so readers see this at the cinema by any chance? How did it look in 3D?


  1. Bubbawheat · January 28, 2012

    Only saw it at home as well. And it was very fun. I believe we watched it three or four times and didn’t get tired of it. (My daughter watched it several more times than that while we had rented it) As long as you go by good recommendations, there’s plenty of great kids movies that don’t pander to just kids out there.

    • Ryan McNeely · January 28, 2012

      Well I only have 48 more weeks to go! Hopefully I can find at least a few more good ones.

  2. Pingback: 5-Word 365 #317 – 21 Jump Street | 5-Word Movie Reviews

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