Movie Review: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – Meatball Heaven or Hell?

Movie Review: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – Meatball Heaven or Hell?

Rated: PG

By Perry S. Chen

(Four Out of five starfish)

Remember the saying “There is no free lunch in the world?” What if you can have not only free lunch, but also free breakfast and dinner every single day, falling from the sky?

In the 3-D animated feature “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” Flint Lockwood is a nerdy engineering genius with messy hair and a big nose, whose inventions always seem to backfire since elementary school. He has an encouraging mom who always believes in him and bought him an over-sized white lab coat that she believed Flint would someday “grow into.”

Her prediction was right, obviously, as Flint grew into an obsessive inventor who has big plans for the future, including inventing a machine that converts water into any food he wants, to save his small fishing town that survives solely on sardines: canned, barbecued, candied sardines. Yuk!

Flint’s dad, Tim, is a man with big, thick eyebrows but small mind. He looks peculiar when he raises his eyebrows because most of the time, you could not see his eyes hidden under his bushy eyebrows. Flint and Tim have a strained relationship because Tim thinks Flint should find a “real” job instead of wasting his time making strange inventions such as a flying car. In the end, father and son patched up their relationship when Tim realized what a genius his son was!

Soon Flint fell in love with a fellow nerd Sam Sparks, a young weather girl who is sent to Swallow Falls, a tiny island hidden under the A in the Atlantic where Flint lives. But after Flint made his most “groundbreaking” invention, trouble started, resulting in the creation of man-eating turkeys, nightmarish gummy bears (luckily, Flint’s assistant monkey Steve took care of them), among other things.

Most devastating is the tsunami of food pouring down, threatening to demolish the Northern hemisphere. Flint and Sam have to use their nerdy energy and smarts to stop the mounting madness.

My favorite character is Flint. He shows that it’s OK to be a nerd because nerds have their advantages and value. Can you imagine our world without Bill Gates?

One of the funniest scenes is in the end, when Sam said to Flint: “Just kiss me.” Flint said: “Why should I if I know you would dump me later just like last time?” But Flint was pretty happy after he followed Sam’s instruction!

One moving scene is when Flint created mountains of ice cream for Earl, the African American policeman, so that he could surprise his son for his birthday.

I give the movie four starfish. It has amazing sound and visual effects, rich and well-developed main characters, and strong emotional connection. I think Flint’s assistant Steve, the monkey, is a little lacking in character. I also wish I could learn more about Flint’s mom and how she passed away. Where and how did Flint get all the money to acquire so many fancy electronic equipments and knowledge to operate them, given his family’s modest means?

The movie is about love, redemption, the tragedy and triumph of nerds. The true villain is greed. It is a cautionary tale about the danger of “playing with your food” despite the best of intention. Always be aware of “free lunch.”

Perry Chen is a 9-year-old columnist, movie critic, and radio talk show host of “Perry Previews the Movies” on . His movie reviews have been published on “We Chinese,” “La Jolla Light,” “Del Mar Times,” “Carmel Valley Leader,” “Solana Beach Sun,” “Rancho Santa Fe Record,” “Del Mar Village Voice,” “Carmel Valley News,” and “Santa Fe Review.” He has been featured on CBS Evening News, Fox, KUSI TV, San Diego Union Tribune, San Diego Magazine, San Diego News Network, The China Press, World Journal, etc. He is in fourth grade at the Torrey Hills Elementary School in San Diego.

Perry’s reviews are available on his website: Listen to his radio show on