Just because Pixar is flavour of the month, it’d be wrong to assume that all other animated movies are simply half-arsed mismatched buddy capers.
Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs is that rare animated breed that happens to be as enjoyable for the drooling infant hordes as it is for the stupid parents who take them to the cinema and inject them with sugar. It manages to do that strange thing of providing characters that you actually care for.
This slice of CG toon was a 3D adventure when it hit cinemas last year but has thankfully given up on bringing that experience to the living room, thankfully. While it may have been impressive in the cinema, 3D would have detracted from a film packed with the type of gag rate and gooey centre that hasn't been around since The Simpsons jumped the shark at the turn of the millennium.
Flint is a likeable lead and an obvious touchstone for anybody who has had a dream or an idol or was secretly gay or recently felt under-appreciated by their parents or had any kind of normal human emotion.
As a scientist he pretty much pisses off the entire community with his inventions until he manages to make the sky rain burgers, making him the resident Ronald McDonald. You can see the moral message a mile off but it still is an affective piece of child-friendly drama. Still, kids hardly care about that – heck, parents hardly care about that!
Visually the film is a treat, it all looks quite edible with all manner of food looking as good as it ever could on the plate. The characters are also well designed, managing to be original and featuring at least twice as many facial expressions as Amanda Holden.
The voice cast manages to be a neat bunch. SNL buddies Bill Hader and Andy Samburg are Flint and local loser ?Baby? Brent. Anna Faris is the love interest and How I Met Your Mother‘s Barney, Neil Patrick Harris, is Flint’s monkey Steve. As for old favourites, then Bruce Campbell is the mayor and Mr. T is comedy gold as the local town police officer.
Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs isn't the mediocre ramblings of a star infested, pop-culture obsessive mess you find in most kids collections. Instead, it at least puts some efforts into making an environment that feels legitimate, and it’s full of characters that have a purpose beyond just going from A to B. It may not be high art but it's hard to find an animated adventure outside of the house of Pixar that mixes the funny with the poignant so well.
‘Spray Rating: 4/5 (It’s for the kids y’know)