09 January 2010

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

All Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) wants to be is a great inventor. Unfortunately, he lives in Swallow Falls which is known only as the world's biggest supplier of canned sardines. After years of failure, he finally finds success with a machine that can turn water into food -- what could go wrong?

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is inspired by a bestselling picture book by Ron and Judi Barrett that tells the story of a scientist trying to solve world hunger. Similar problems evolve in both the book and the film, though, and lead to a similar conclusion.

Like many animated films, Cloudy includes some sight gags and dialogue that is aimed at the parents in the audience but for the most part this film is perfectly suited to young kids. The characters are miles away from the uncanny valley with oversize heads, big eyes, and wild hair. They live in a crayon-hued world that follows the rules of cartoons rather than physics.

The voice work is top notch, having borrowed half the current cast of Saturday Night Live and thrown in Bruce Campbell, Mister T, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, and Al Roker just for kicks.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is not Oscar-worthy animation but it's not a bad way to spend 90 minutes with the kids.

*** ½

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