When I was young, I used to sing the song, “On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese, I lost my poor meatball when somebody sneezed.” This meatball had several adventures as it rolled off the table and onto the floor. You can imagine everyone’s shock when it rolled right out the door! Subsequently, that meatball made its way to Hollywood. I imagine it packed its little meatball suitcase and boarded the meatball bus with dreams of making it big. It probably worked some odd jobs at restaurants or car dealerships; maybe dabbled in real estate before landing its first role. Although the part was only as an extra meatball in a commercial for an Italian restaurant, this meatball had dreams. The meatball wanted to see its name in lights.
Here and there, a small part would come its way, but the meatball wasn’t famous. After several frustrating years trying to make it in the industry (I don’t even want to think about the meatball casting couch), it was ready to head home. The meatball was just plain tired of playing the “game” in Hollywood. With great sadness, the meatball packed up its little meatball suitcase and booked the meatball bus for the degrading trip home. After booking the trip, however, the meatball received a call from its meatball agent—it had landed a lead role in a children’s film. At first, the meatball was uncertain if it would accept this role—it wanted to be taken seriously as an actor (the meatball was classically trained, for Pete’s sake!). Then, the meatball recalled the most famous meatball of all– the one from Lady and the Tramp.
The meatball had idolized that animated hunk of flesh when the meatball was just ground meat—the Lady and the Tramp meatball was the one that set the standard for all other meatballs to come, and it was in a children’s film. “Screw it,” said the meatball, “I will take the part.” And so, the meatball was offered the role of lead meatball number 1 in the movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. The meatball even appeared on the posters and held a few press junkets– it was thrilled. Thus is the story of how a little known meatball made it big in the entertainment industry.
I saw the meatball in this film yesterday. I was quite pleased with the depth and range it had while portraying lead meatball number 1 (arguably the most difficult food part in the entire film!). The meatball stole every scene it was in. I anticipate it making it big in Hollywood. Soon, you will see the meatball everywhere– Entertainment Weekly, a dozen mediocre blockbusters, and on TMZ running from the paparazzi. But enough about the meatball– this isn’t a gossip site, and I should review the film.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is an animated film that tells the story of Flint Lockwood and his amazing, food-making machine. When the machine accidentally showers the town with cheeseburgers one day, Flint becomes instantly in demand by the mayor and townspeople. Flooded with requests, eventually the machine goes berserk, and giant-sized food begins to fall not only on the town, but the rest of the world. It is up to Flint and his friends to save the day.
This film surprised me. The “look” of the film didn’t appeal to me at first—it kind of annoyed me during the beginning of the film. However, I either adjusted or was taken in by the story, and it didn’t bother me as much after about fifteen minutes. The story itself is pretty predictable, but I feel there is some witty social commentary here (especially about how much food we waste and issues with portion sizes, but I will let each viewer draw her/his own conclusions). I would have liked this film to be a little more edgy about these issues, but I suppose it is intended for children and maybe that wouldn’t fly. Some of the jokes were quite silly, and I chuckled a few times.
The actors (including the meatball) were quite good. They seemed to fit the characters and added (not detracted as is sometimes the case with celebrity voices in animation) to the story. An extra special kudos goes to Neil Patrick Harris who plays Steve, the monkey who is able to “speak” with the help of a device invented by Flint (it’s epic… well, close enough).
The meatball also was excellent in its role. In fact, the meatball was booked in several other films. Be sure to see it in the new version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a few indie films that will surely warrant it some Oscar buzz.
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