Review: Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs by Jamie
29/04/2010, 9:00 am
Filed under: Review

What if I told you there was an awesome film that had both Bruce Campbell and Mr. T in it? You’d be forgiven for thinking it was some kind of awesome buddy cop film filled with action, demonic hellspawn, van customisation, witty one liners and songs about respecting your mother. And you’d be quite right to expect some kind of film along those lines but you’d also be wrong. For you see such a film does exist and it’s actually a CGI animated, family-friendly film. And it is equally as awesome as that other made-up film would have been.

That film is Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs. It follows the story of Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) a wanna-be inventor who just wants to help his small island community since the towns main source of income, sardine fishing, dries up. This leaves the town forced to eat nothing but the terrible sardines that they can’t sell anywhere else. Unfortunately he’s a little bit of a shit inventor. For example, it’s kind of hard to understand just what the benefit was when he decided to genetically engineer Ratbirds. Anyway, he decides that he’s going to help the island by inventing a machine that will improve the towns somewhat limited palate.

It’s fairly simple. It takes in water at the top and produces food at the bottom. Unfortunately Flint accidentally launches the device into the sky whilst also ruining the towns big launch of their new tourist trap, Sardine Land, managing to piss of everyone including the Mayor (Bruce Campbell), the local police chief Earl Devereaux (Mr. T), his father (James Caan), local celebrity ‘Baby’ Brent (Andy Samberg) and out of town weather intern and secret nerd Samantha Sparks (Anna Faris). In fact the only ’person’ who seems to still be on his side is his pet monkey equipped with a monkey thought translator, Steve (Neil Patrick Harris). And yes, I did write that like that so I could conveniently list off the major players of the cast.

The device, however, is still working high in the sky above the island and it’s soon begins to rain cheeseburgers. Flint is hailed as a hero and he’s soon taking orders from the town folk for food they’d like to have rained down upon them. The mayor comes up with a new plan to bring tourists to the town, inviting people from around the world to come and partake in their miraculous food weather. But is there a chance something could go terribly wrong? If I have to answer that question for you then you’ve never seen a film before in your life.

It’s really hard to explain how awesome this film is. Let’s take Mr. T’s character, Chief Devereaux for example. He moves with the same energy and frantic nature that Mr. T’s voice sounds like when he’s in proper rant mode. That might be hard to imagine so just watch the film. Also when he first takes his hat off it is revealed that he has a full head of hair except for one strip down the middle, exactly where Mr. T’s Mohawk would be in real life. Finally later one he jumps through a giant nacho whilst carrying a giant piece of toast leaving behind him a giant T in the nacho. That’s just a sample of the type of humour you can expect to see in this film.

This film is also really, really frentic. It’s fast paced, bright, colourful and it looks like it could easily keep a child distracted for it’s hour and a half running time. Despite this high-paced madness it had me laughing all the way through. There’s an intelligence lying behind it’s humour, little character quirks which exist all the way through the film such as Samantha’s habit of saying something intelligent before quickly following up with something ditzy so as not to give away the fact that she’s secretly a nerd. There’s also an awesome scene where Flint, having never had a snowball fight, gets a little over excited after an ice-cream storm and bursting into peoples houses and pelting them as hard as he can with ice-cream snow balls. Ok, maybe that’s not that intelligent but it’s fucking funny.

It also features some of those pop cultural references you’ve come to expect in these kinds of films ever since Shrek came along. There are those Mr. T jokes I mentioned earlier and the later part of the film has some heavy allusions to a certain trilogy that takes place in a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away but they’re not as over the top and intrusive as they can be in those Shrek films.

Most importantly, the film has a rather touching story that’s all about just being yourself and a son who just wants his father to be proud of him and the man that he has become even if it means not necessarily pursuing the path his father would prefer for him, a sentiment that men in particular can relate to. In fact, I’d say that this film would be perfect for a father and a young son to sit down and watch together.

Overall it’s a fun, funny and at times touching movie that strikes all the right chords with me. There are times when it does kinda drag along a little towards the end, the action sometimes going along without much of the humour that it had earlier on during the film but it’s a pretty small issue in an otherwise pretty damn good film. Four pints out of five. Laterz.

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