photo: Sony Pictures
What a great movie experience! I took four kids to see Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and of the four - one of them sat motionless the entire time except for bursts of laughter, one of them whimpered a little during the will-he-make-it?-climax, one of them had happy tears rolling down his eyes at the end (emotional father-son denoument), and the other blessed us with her rendition of the theme song (Miranda Cosgrove's "Raining Sunshine") all the way home. The variety of reaction speaks to the universal appeal of this movie.
The movie diverges from the classic book by Judi Barrett by introducing us to the lovable main character, Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader), a community outlier whose best friend is a monkey. After years of ill-fated inventions, this young scientist loses his latest contraption (which creates food out of water) into the atmosphere. He then discovers that he has single-handededly created a way to provide his town with made-to-order weather. The catch... a gradual malfunction leads to a devastating forecast.
The imagery, as you can see, is captivating. Particularly impressive to my crew of four was the ice cream snow day and spaghetti tornado.
There are inspiring sub-plots that will be apropos for children as well, such as the dynamic between an emotionally silent, fisherman father and his intellectual, non-conforming son. Also relevant is the inner struggle of Sam Sparks (voiced by Anna Faris), an aspiring meteorologist, between being cute and a little ditsy and being herself - a hyper-intelligent self-proclaimed 'nerd' who really needs glasses and prefers a ponytail. You'll be happy to see what conclusion she comes to.
Noticeably absent was any blatantly adult content. It is rated PG for mild schoolyard language ("four eyes"), characters in peril but ultimately noone was hurt, and brief crude humor (in the snowball fight scene, the monkey was caught throwing what was thought to be chocolate ice cream, but wasn't; it was very brief and I don't think my kids even caught it). I found it entirely relaxing as a parent.
My suggestion? Go indulge yourself and your kids. Check here for Dallas theaters and showtimes.