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Meatballs are lacking substance.


CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS (U) Verdict: HHHII THE title of this inventive comedy fantasy animation sounds like a weather forecast you might expect to hear on BBC WM, if you were planning a day out at the Swedish IKEA store and restaurant next to Junction 9 of the M6.

In reality, since this is a morality tale about western gluttony, it's also a bit like a cross between Morgan Spurlock's don't-eat-too-much documentary Super Size Me and Disney's hit-and-miss time-travelling, boy inventor animation 'Meat' The Robinsons.

Adapted from the 1978 children's book by Judi and Ron Barrett and set in a mid-Atlantic town reliant on the sardines it's soon to lose, Cloudy's star is Flint Lockwood - an irrepressible inventor who replaces laces with spray-on shoes.

Then he learns how to turn rain into food, which leads the mayor of Swallow Falls to see a heaven-sent opportunity to eat more while making pots of money at the same time.

Cloudy starts off really brightly before an occluded front sets in.

And that's despite the arrival of livewire TV girl Sam Sparks (voiced by Scary Movie star Anna Farris).

Children who naturally like intermittent bursts of entertainment won't mind the inconsistencies, as with recent release Shorts.

But adults will feel shortchanged that this is a waferthin film which fails to develop a stronger storyline dynamic.

Made by Sony Pictures Animation (Surf's Up), Meatballs is showing in 3D in some cinemas and in good old 2D in others.

Childern under six won't notice the difference if you don't want to be bothered with glasses.

Since this film was not given a Midlands' press screening, a longer version of this review first appeared on my Mega Movies blog last Friday soon after its release - click on www.birminghammail.

net and then What's On for more hot news and tips galore.

Website: * cloudy withachance ofmeatballs GRAHAM YOUNG


Livewire: Sam Sparks is voiced by Anna Farris.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Sep 25, 2009
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