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Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a 2009 American computer-animated family comedy film produced by Sony Pictures Animation, distributed by Columbia Pictures, and released on September 18, 2009. The film is loosely based on the children's book of the same name by Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett.
The film features the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Bruce Campbell, James Caan, Bobb'e J. Thompson, Andy Samberg, Mr. T, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Al Roker, Lauren Graham and Will Forte. It was written and directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
The film received very positive reviews, and was a modest box office success, earning $243 million worldwide. A sequel, titled Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, was released on September 27, 2013.
Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) has always wanted to construct something spectacular; however, his devices have repeatedly failed. Among his failed inventions are Spray on shoes, remote controlled television, rat birds, hair unbalder and the flying car. He lives in Swallow Falls with his technophobic father Tim (James Caan) who misunderstands his son's talent. The Baby Brent Sardine cannery within their town had closed down, leaving the town to only feed on sardines for nourishment.
Flint, along with the aid of his pet monkey, Steve (Neil Patrick Harris), invents a mechanism that mutates water into food, called the "Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator" the FLDSMDFR for short. The mechanism absorbs masses of megawatts of electricity from the nearby power plant and ends up rocketing through town and shooting up into the stratosphere, destroying Sardine Land. While recuperating from his failure, he meets Samantha "Sam" Sparks (Anna Faris), a weather intern whose big break was foiled by Flint's actions. The two witness clouds floating over the town that rain cheeseburgers, much to everyone's astonishment and happiness.
Realizing his accomplishment and potential, Flint invents a communication device to send orders to the FLDSMDFR to order certain types of food. Swallow Falls (now renamed Chewandswallow) is now attracting tourists. Everyone is going well until Tim fails to show appreciation for his son including the fact that the people (including the Mayor) start greedily requesting food for Flint to rain. Flint notices that the food is beginning to rain in massive quantities, but the Mayor (now morbidly obese) sees it as a better outcome for him and the city.
Citizens and worldly tourists in Chewandswallow are blissful until suddenly a large destructive tornado formed of spaghetti and meatballs threatens the town. Flint rushes to the lab to turn the FLDSMDFR off and attempts to send a 'kill code' to stop the machine. However, the Mayor accidentally destroys the communications device while trying to stop Flint from turning off the machine. It becomes evil and self-aware, and it begins to create a massive food storm that threatens the world and Flint loses hope. However, his father encourages him to fix the mess. Flint gains self-confidence and places the kill code in a USB flash drive and invents the Flying Car 2. Flint, Sam, her cameraman, Manny (Benjamin Bratt), Steve and Brent (Andy Samberg) set out to terminate the FLDSMDFR. Entering the stratosphere, they find that the machine is the sole core of a giant meatball and sends sentient food to attack them. In the chaos, Flint loses the kill code when the flash drive flies out of the Flying Car 2.
Meanwhile in Chewandswallow, the citizens and tourists, with the help of Earl (Mr. T), escape. Mt. Leftovers collapses, causing an avalanche of food — a foodalanche — to destroy Chewandswallow. The foodalanche covers Flint's Lab with Tim still trying to send Flint the kill code. However, he survives and he successfully clicks send. Flint encounters the machine and jams the phone into the USB port. However, Tim had sent him the wrong document, but Flint destroys the machine by using his Spray-On formula and it explodes. They return safely to the aftermath of Chewandswallow. Tim finally shows his appreciation for his son and his inventions and then Flint and Sam celebrate with a kiss.
Meanwhile, the obese mayor gets stranded in the middle of the sea, having eaten nearly all of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich boat.
- Bill Hader as Flint Lockwood, an inventor. Max Neuwirth voices Flint as a child. Hader also did the voice of the "FLDSMDFR" machine.
- Anna Faris as Sam Sparks, a weather intern from New York City and Flint's love interest.
- Neil Patrick Harris as Steve the Monkey, Flint's pet Vervet monkey who communicates using a Speak and Spell monkey thought translator.
- James Caan as Tim Lockwood, Flint's technophobic single-father and a widower.
- Bruce Campbell as Mayor Shelbourne, the gluttonous, egotistical, and antagonistic mayor of Swallow Falls who has an undying greedy love for food.
- Andy Samberg as Brent McHale, an infamous celebrity mascot of Baby Brent Sardines that bullies Flint, but eventually becomes his friend.
- Mr. T as Officer Earl Devereaux, the town's athletic cop who is very loving to his son.
- Bobb'e J. Thompson as Calvin "Cal" Devereaux, Earl's son.
- Benjamin Bratt as Manny, Sam's Guatemalan cameraman and a former doctor, co-pilot, and comedian.
- Al Roker as Patrick Patrickson, the anchorman of the weather station.
- Lauren Graham as Fran Lockwood, Flint's mother who always believed in her son. She died ten years before Flint invented the FLDSMDFR.
- Will Forte as Joseph Towne, a redneck citizen of Chewandswallow.
Differences from the Book
- None of the characters in the film exist in the books and are completely original to the film.
- The book is a story about a Grandpa telling a story to his Grandchildren about a town called Chewandswallow where the weather rained food three times a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. While the movie is about a boy named Flint Lockwood who always wanted to be an inventor.
- The town was always known as Chewandswallow, and there is no mention of it ever being called Swallow Falls.
- There is no mention of the town ever having been an export of sardines in the books.
- In the books, it is unknown what causes the strange and wondrous weather phenomenon.
- In the book, the townspeople had cats and dogs. But in the film, they don't have any, not at all. Instead they put in a monkey (Steve).
- In the book, the vehicle that was used to clean up the food that fell from the sky was used by a Sanitation Department, and after the workers cleaned up they feed all the cats and dogs, pour some of it in the surrounding oceans for the fish, turtles and whales to eat, and put the rest of it into the earth so the soil would be richer for people's flower gardens. In the film, the vehicle was one of Flint's new inventions called, the Outtasighter and it wasen't used by a Sanitation Department, it was used by Flint and Steve. And after cleaning things up, Flint didn't feed any cats or dogs (since the film dosen't have any), pour it into the oceans for the sea creatures to eat or put it into the earth so the soil would be richer for flower gardens. Instead, after cleaning up the food, Flint catapults it up into the air and the leftovers land on a hill outside of town (creating the Mt. Leftovers).
- In the book, the twister was a Tomato Tornado. In the film, it's a Spagetti Twister.
- In both the book and the film, a giant pancake landed ontop of the school. But in the book, the pancake landed on it during a storm of giant pancakes and helicopters and a tow truck tried to get it off, but they couldn't because of it's weight. So they had to close the school. In the film, the pancake landed on it during the foodstorm that happened when the FLDSMDFR went out of control and the kids cheered, "NO SCHOOL!" when the school was covered.
- In both the book and the film, the townspeople built rafts out of peanutbutter sandwiches to evacuate the town. But in the book, after the townspoeple built them, they then sailed away for a new town to live in. After being afloat for a week, they reached another town which welcomed them and they loved their new life in the new town. In the film, after they built them, they floated away from the island and stayed off it until the FLDSMDFR was stopped. After the FLDSMDFR was stopped and the world was saved, the townspeople floated back onto the island and congratulated Flint for saving the day.
On May 9, 2003, a year after establishment, Sony Pictures Animation announced its first animated slate, including Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, a film adaptation of the book. The Brizzi brothers were brought to direct the film, with Wayne Rice adapting the screenplay. In 2006, it was reported that the film had been helmed by new directors and writers, Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
On September 18, 2008, Variety announced that Bill Hader and Anna Faris had signed on to voice the two lead characters, with James Caan, Bruce Campbell, Mr. T, Andy Samberg, Neil Patrick Harris, Bobb'e J. Thompson, Benjamin Bratt, Al Roker, Lauren Graham and Will Forte also in the voice cast.
Co-writers and co-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller said later that year that it would be a homage to, and a parody of, disaster films such as Twister, Armageddon, The Core, and The Day After Tomorrow.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is the second film (after Monster House) made using animation rendering software, Arnold, and the open source image toolkit OpenImageIO.
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (transcript), based on the film.
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (video game), based on the film