It’s been a while since I last watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009), but I genuinely don’t remember it being as funny as it is. I rewatched it today thinking that I would have to suffer through an hour and a half of insufferable grade school humor but I was pleasantly surprised.
Maybe it’s one of those movies that you have to watch a few times to really love. Or maybe I’m just slow when it comes to jokes. Either way, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is actually hilarious and I wish everyone would realize that. And, honestly, it really should not have been that funny. It has a lot of elements working against it. Let me tell you about just a few of them.
Sony Pictures Animation
Sony Pictures Animation does not have a great track record. It is the mastermind of stinkers like Hotel Transylvania (2012) and The Emoji Movie (2017). Yet, we also have it to thank for Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (2018); admittedly, that one was geared more toward an older audience, but it was still animation. How did Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (and its sequel) escape that group of losers?
I don’t have a clear answer on that one. Perhaps it was Lord and Miller’s signature touch of irreverent humor. It could be the addition of comedic actors Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, and Anna Faris that add that delightfully humorous streak to the film. It could also be James Caan’s presence, which is odd but is also welcomed. Or maybe it’s just the sarcastic way this whole film seemed to have been put together to make the writers laugh rather than the young audience.
I can’t quite put my finger on how Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs rises above the more mediocre likes of Goosebumps (2015) and The Smurfs (2011), I just know that it did and Sony Pictures Animation hasn’t been able to recreate that since.
Baby Brent is the worst character in this film. In any other film, his presence alone would probably make me turn off the movie. A grown man dressed in only a diaper pretending to be a baby? That’s cringy enough in real life, let alone in an animated movie.
But I didn’t even mind. There were even parts that I found the annoying bit slightly amusing. I think a big part of that is the fact that Andy Samberg voices the character. Imagining Samberg saying it makes the lines actually funny.
The weirdest part of Baby Brent’s “development” is definitely near the end when he becomes Chicken Brent, but even then it’s not horribly cringy — more of a strange moment that will leave you scratching your head. But you’ll probably be giggling, too.
I didn’t realize this character had a name until I looked it up. It’s a very fitting name, considering he is just a Joe Schmo who just seems to wander the town. And he may possibly be the best part of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
Anytime anything is happening, you can count on Joe Towne’s presence and a dimwitted line that should not even be funny but will make you laugh anyway. What is Joe doing in the spaghetti tornado calmly driving a car? Beats me, but his calm demeanor is the funniest part of that whole sequence.
Joe’s role reminds me a lot of the guy on Spongebob Squarepants that is always yelling, “My leg!” The show would be complete without him and it’d still be hilarious, but his presence is a big plus. It’s the icing on the cake of this whole hilarious shebang.
A Monkey Thought Translator
Seriously, this is the kind of humor I would’ve thought funny in elementary school. YET, I’m still laughing right now about Steve the Monkey and his thought translator.
As you’d expect, most of Steve’s thoughts aren’t that intelligent, being a monkey and all. When he is licking Flint Lockwood’s face, he is only thinking, “Lick, lick, lick.” When he’s hungry, he will tell you repeatedly (and probably mention gummy bears as well). Like I said, pretty infantile humor, right? So, why am I laughing??
The character of Steve in general is one of the funniest parts of this movie. He’s just always there doing something completely random or weird and it’s hilarious. He’s the comedic relief in a comedic movie. If you didn’t think that was possible, I recommend watching Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and try to find a better way to explain it.
Bluntness When You Least Expect It
The thing with family movies is that they use a lot of cliches to make things sound nice; that doesn’t necessarily mean that the words have any impact behind them though. Sometimes, I wish that these movies would be just a little blunter.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs listened to my pleas and made their dialogue wildly funny and blunt. The first moment that comes to mind is when Sam Sparks and Flint are sitting together, obviously very much into each other, and Sam asks Flint if he can tell her secret. Instead of being that cliche romantic lead and saying something cute like, “Of course. You can trust me with anything,” Flint goes with a much blunter, “No.”
Don’t ask me why this part stood out over anything else, but I just found it hilarious. Even in real life, people don’t have the guts to say no to that question, which leads to a lot of heartbreak and confusion. Of course, Flint immediately retracts his statement and Sam tells him the secret (otherwise the audience would be a little frustrated) but it’s still funny to me. His first reaction was to be painfully honest.
And there are multiple other instances of this throughout the movie where instead of saying the cliche line you expect, the characters say something completely off-the-wall or something way more realistic and it really shakes you out of your stupor. It’s the little quirks like these that make this film so enjoyable to watch.
Am I Just High?
I need to know: is this movie really as funny as I thought it was, or was I possibly just a little too sleepy or whatever when I watched it? All I know is, for a Sony Pictures Animation film, it sure has aged well over the past ten years. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is one of the few animated movies in the past few years that I have truly enjoyed and will rewatch until I die.
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I have to rewatch this film.
I saw this film for the first time two months ago and I loved it. Phil and Chris are comedic geniuses. Did not like the sequel despite me laughing at the puns. The first Cloudy holds a lot of heart that’s pretty surprising.
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