Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

The year’s 3-D deluge continues: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is an amusingly loopy kids’ meal about a small-town inventor who becomes famous thanks to a machine that causes clouds to rain food. With his remote island community’s sardinecentric economy teetering on the brink of collapse, outcast scientist Flint Lockwood (Hader) ostensibly saves the day when his latest contraption, which genetically mutates water into snacks, unexpectedly takes up residence in some cumulonimbuses and starts producing cheeseburger showers and ice-cream snowfall. Despite the ensuing media attention, which is spearheaded by a perky weather girl (Faris) who yearns to embrace her suppressed inner geek, Flint soon learns that bigger isn’t always better.

That message, however, doesn’t extend to director Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s boisterous, anything-goes approach to humor, nor to their chow-tastrophic set pieces, which—especially in a ridiculous reaction-shot montage—sharply parody disaster flicks. Driven by an idiosyncratic blend of goofiness and sweetness, Cloudy serves up vibrant animation in tune with its spirit of rollicking comedic abandon, all while championing nerdy intelligence over bland conformity and gastronomic moderation over supersized gluttony. It may not have the heart or subtle artistry of Up, but then again, Pixar’s 3-D outing didn’t feature a mustache-tearing monkey, a manchild encased in a giant cooked chicken, or a beefy, bounding cop voiced by Mr. T.—Nick Schager

Opens Fri.

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