Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is an animated fantasy loosely based on the 1978 book of the same name. It tells the story of Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader), a young scientist trying to create the ultimate invention. He also hopes to go from being a geek to a popular and well-respected member of the Swallow Falls community. Flint has been teased and doubted by many people throughout his life. Even his father (James Caan) struggles to understand his son and show him he cares. Flint’s only firm believer was his mother, who died when he was 10. She left him with inspiring words and a white scientist coat to encourage his creative inventiveness.
The failure of the town’s local sardine export company means that Swallow Falls residents must rely solely on sardines for their livelihood. Flint finally succeeds in inventing a machine that turns rain into food. He is instantly famous and praised as a hero for saving the town from financial ruin. Mayor Shelbourne (Bruce Campbell) is particularly keen to make the most of Flint’s invention. He hopes to make the town the biggest and most powerful in the world. So the mayor and Flint create a machine that ensures a smorgasbord of food falls on the town three times a day, every day.
It’s not long before the food begins to get bigger and bigger. Flint gets more and more worried about the safety of the machine and the town’s residents. When Flint attempts to shut down the machine, he is stopped by the mayor. A battle begins as Flint and a few friends try to save the town from ultimate food doom.
End of the world; natural disasters
This movie contains some violence and personal abuse. For example:
- Children at Flint’s school make fun of him because he shows off his new science invention. The kids laugh, point and call him a ‘freak’.
- Children at Flint’s school make fun of Sam (Anna Faris) because she is smart and wears glasses. The other kids laugh, point and call her ‘four eyes’.
- A policeman warns the grown-up Flint not to cause any trouble with his science inventions. The policeman is threatening as well as funny.
- A policeman tackles a jaywalker.
- A sardine falls out of his fish tank, and a seagull eats him.
- Flint throws ice-cream snowballs quite hard at small children and grown-ups. The balls knock the people over.
- Flint falls out of a jelly house and says ‘ow’ when he hits the ground.
- The mayor of the town gets angry at Flint when Flint tries to stop the weather maker from making more food storms. The mayor throws things at Flint and the machine.
- A food storm destroys the town and breaks the ‘excess food wall’. People run screaming from the town and escape on toast boats. People also start looting.
- A building and laboratory catch fire after the food storm hits.
- A rogue pizza chases a plane.
- Town residents and news reporters talk about the end of the world.
- Roast chickens with no heads attack Flint, Sam and Brent.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, some children under eight could be concerned about the following scenes:
- A spaghetti and meatball hurricane hits the town. Cars, buildings and people are hit, crushed and blown around.
- Large pieces of food fall from the sky and hit people, cars and buildings.
- A small child goes into a food coma when he eats too many lollies.
- Flint’s mother dies when he is only 10 years old.
It is unlikely that anything in this movie will scare or disturb children over eight.
This movie contains one scene where Sam and Flint kiss on the lips.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
None of concern
Nudity and sexual activity
This movie contains one scene where Brent undresses himself to his underwear in a public place.
None of concern
This movie contains some mild name-calling.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a unique animated concept with many funny characters and scenes that are sure to entertain both children and grown-ups.
The main messages from this movie are to believe in yourself as a unique person with unlimited potential. Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include integrity and honesty.
This movie could give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life attitudes and behaviours such as school bullying and teasing, and greed. You could also talk about the importance of healthy eating.