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Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009) - Movie Review for Parents

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) in 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs'

Photo © Sony Pictures Animation. All Rights Reserved.

Bottom line: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs the movie presents a possible explanation of what might have been going on in the little town Grandpa invented in the book version of the story. The movie is fun family fare, and fairly light on questionable content, but it might make the whole family hungry!

MPAA Rating: PG, for brief mild language
Genre: Animated/Comedy
Guide Age Recommendation: 3+
Runtime: Approx. 90 minutes
Starring: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Bruce Campbell, Andy Samberg, Mr. T
Release Date: September 18, 2009

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - Summary

Flint Lockwood has become well known in the sardine fishing town of Swallow Falls. His unique inventions always create quite a stir, and generally not in a good way. But when the town experiences hard times and everyone starts to get sick of eating sardines, Flint figures out a way to make the people in town happy.

Flint creates a scientifically ingenious device that can turn water into food, and he plans to show the world what it can do. Meanwhile Sam Sparks, a perky intern from a news network, is on her way to cover the weather in Swallow Falls. Sam arrives to find a bigger story than she planned, though, when Flint's food machine accidentally gets launched into the atmosphere and begins creating some mouthwatering weather anomolies.

As hamburgers and hot dogs rain down from the sky, Flint becomes the toast of the town. The mayor prepares to capitalize on the falling food as a major tourist attraction, and Sam and Flint become friends as Sam finally gets her big chance to cover a major event and prove herself as a real weather girl. Everyone seems to be bloated with happiness -- everyone except Flint's father, who is the only person not impressed by Flint's scrumptious weather machine.

Flint's magnificent menus continue to please, but his machine soon begins to buckle under the pressure. Maybe his father was right, and Flint should have given up inventing long ago. His best invention yet could turn into the messiest catastrophe ever if he can't figure out a way to curb people's appetites and stop the edible downpour.

Cloudy with a Chance of MeatballsPhoto © Pictures Animation. All Rights Reserved.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - Guide Review

As a big fan of the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs book, I was afraid that this movie would be ridiculously stupid and leave out the parts of the book that actually make it award-winning. I was pleasantly surprised. The movie doesn't portray Grandpa, and how he thought up a fantastic bedtime story inspired by a silly event from an ordinary day. Rather, it provides a fun explanation as to why Grandpa's little town had the food problem it did, and through this story this enjoyable family film finds its own heart.

The writers of the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs did an amazing job of creating a good story from the absurd idea of food falling from the sky. The movie remains interesting throughout, and contains several clever and funny parts that don't rely on potty humor. The story also conveys positive messages about self confidence and about the dangers of greed and gluttony.

The movie does contain some rude words like "nerd" and "freak," and there is one brief and barely audible utterance that the town is a "hellhole." Other content in the movie includes a couple of almost kisses and one kiss, and some sad scenes surrounding the fact that Flint's mother passed away and he now feels like "junk" because his inventions have all failed in one way or another. For more detailed information on possibly offensive, scary, or tense content, please see the "Content Overview" below.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - Content Overview

*May contain spoilers.

  • Violence (Medium): The violence in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is generally unrealistic and involves food weather hazards or over sized food that has mutated and begins to fight against Flint and others (like giant roasted chickens that attack the characters and must be fought off). Some property damage occurs due to Flint's machine rocketing around town and also due to the perilous food weather. The town police officer gets a bit carried away with his funky combat moves, but this is played for laughs, and he doesn't actually injure anyone.
  • Sex/Nudity (Low) The movie contains a few almost kisses and one actual kiss between a man and woman. Throughout the movie, we see "Baby Brent" disrobe down to a diaper as the mascot for a sardine company. We also see a close up of one character as he tightens his clothed butt cheeks.
  • Drugs and Alcohol (None)
  • Language (Low): What sounds like the phrase "hellhole" is briefly muttered. Kids and others in the movie use rude words like "nerd," "freak," "weirdo," and "crap."
  • Disrespectful/Imitative Behavior (Medium): Kids at school call a boy names and tease him. Kids are also shown teasing a little girl (in a flashback). A couple of characters tell minor lies in order to gain approval. The selfish mayor of the town eats and eats until he becomes hugely overweight. He uses others in his attempts to gain fame and wealth, and he puts his own greed over the safety of others.
Cloudy with a Chance of MeatballsPhoto © Pictures Animation. All Rights Reserved.

  • Scary Scenes (Meduim): As the food becomes larger, people are in peril due to spaghetti twisters and being buried by the falling food. Flint and others must fly up to the machine and fight off attacking foods as they try to save the town. Some very young children may be frightened or unsettled by these scenes.
  • Sad/Unsettling Scenes (High): After seeing scenes of Flint as a child with his mother and father, we find out that his mother passed away at some point, and his father has a very difficult time showing emotion or letting Flint know that he is proud of him, which creates a tense relationship between Flint and his dad. At one point during the film, Flint is found curled up in a garbage can. Due to the lack of encouragement from his father and his inventions failing, Flint claims that he is nothing but junk and so decided to throw himself away. We also find that Sam had been teased for being a nerd when she was a child. During one scene in the movie, people lament that one character doesn't return and may have died, but he survives. People also lament over a young boy, but he turns out to be in a food coma and later comes out of it.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Topics to Discuss

  • After seeing Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, kids may have questions about the following topics: the weather, acting stupid to avoid being teased about being a nerd, the death of a loved one, difficulty in expressing feelings, becoming fat due to eating too much.
*Kids who enjoy Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs may also like: Horton Hears a Who, Meet the Robinsons, or Up.

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