Kids movies can range from being quietly enjoyable for the slightly older of us and the slightly unbearable for the older of us. This of course is assuming that you’re not an eight-year-old at heart. When I first read reviews of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs last year I thought to myself, “Hmm, this could quite possibly be at the worse end of the kiddie movie.”
But still I watched. I watched because I was riddled with a terrible cold that made me completely lethargic and in need of watching something that didn’t require the use of that thing in my head… oh, yeah, my brain!
Cloudy tells the story of Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) who thinks he’s a genius. Except, all of his inventions are rubbish or farfetched. When his mother dies, his father (James Caan) thinks he should give up his dream of being an inventor. But when Flint invents a machine that can turn the weather into food, he is hailed as a hero and a new age dawns over his sleepy town. He gets the respect of town weathergirl Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) with whom he finds a special bond. But when Flint suspects that there might be a catastrophic fault with the machine, the town’s increasingly gluttonous mayor (Bruce Campbell) convinces him not to worry and continue producing food. Then everything descends into chaos.
Well we all know that this is all going to have a happy ending, and you can see what’s going to happen from miles around. There’s no real surprises in store so if you’re looking for a movie with at least one decent twist, you’d better look elsewhere. Much of the movie focuses on the different food-wishes of the townsfolk, leaving a weirdly small portion of the movie to the eventual catastrophe that happens to the town.
The town’s odd cop, played by Mr. T, frankly doesn’t get enough screen time. He is by far the funiest and most engaging character in the whole movie and yet is relegated to a bit-part in comparison to some of the other characters. But in its defence, the voice actors on Cloudy all put in good performances and bring some life to proceedings. Without that energy and enthusiasm it might be said that the movie would fall flat on its face. Oops. The film’s great premise doesn’t quite live up to expectations, and although I’m sure a small kid would laugh at some of the slapstick (which is mostly what the comedy element relies on) it doesn’t have that spark that makes it appealing to adults as well. Add into the mix slightly disappointing level of animation (like a poor version of the altogether more superior Monsters vs. Aliens) and it’s all a bit of a letdown.
But maybe I’m being harsh. It does boast a lovely end-credit sequence and the feat of having raised a smile on my face through my suffering, so it must have done something right. And the food looks good. Yep, I definitely felt hungry after seeing all those tasty-looking cheeseburgers fall from the sky. Too bad that level of quality wasn’t spread across the entire movie.
Verdict: Kids will love its simplicity and pratfall comedy but it offers little in terms of adult entertainment. Avoid if you’re feeling at all peckish: it will induce a stomach-churning need to eat copious amounts of food.