The classic children's book [movie id="413695"]"Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs"[/movie] spins a tall, tasty tale about a mythical land in which the sky rains orange juice and storms hamburgers, while every so often a pea-soup fog rolls in.
The how and why of this culinary weather — the meat and potatoes of the story, if you will — is never explained in Judi Barrett's slim 1978 book. All we know is that the deliciousness turns suddenly dangerous for the townsfolk of Chewandswallow — massive school flattening pancakes! Salt and pepper winds! — and they're forced into survival mode.
The new 3-D animated adaptation of "Cloudy" dreams up an origin story for the mouthwatering climate — a loony young inventor named Flint Lockwood creates a machine that turns water into food — but filmmakers didn't shy away from rendering the book's hair-raising detail of every meteor-size meatball and mile-long strand of pasta.
"They went real with it!" laughed "Saturday Night Live" comedian Bill Hader, who voices Flint. "When I saw the spaghetti twister for the first time in 3-D, I was like, 'How the hell did you guys do that?' That's no joke. It looks fantastic."
"It's pretty hefty food," seconded Anna Faris (young weathergirl Sam Sparks). "You've got the peanut-brittle cavern. The army of roasted chickens. It gets dangerous!"
Which is not to say "Cloudy" isn't a movie for kids; if the reaction from schoolchildren at a recent advance screening is any indication, they'll have a blast. Flint is part "Back to the Future" mad scientist, part "Field of Dreams" visionary, part loveable nutball. He comes up with wacky inventions like a hair un-balder, a monkey-thought translator and, most disastrously, a hybrid, procreation-happy creature called a ratbird. Then he strikes upon the water-into-grub idea — what co-star Bobbe' J. Thompson dubs the "Food-inator 3000" — and permanently changes the life of his fellow citizens.
So sure it's a kids' movie, and sure parents have been reading the book to their children before bedtime for decades, but if Hader could have injected some of his own youthful experiences into the script, "Cloudy" would most likely not have snatched its PG rating.
"Whiskey!" replied the "SNL"-er when asked how his folks got him to go to bed. "My parents gave me whiskey and I was out."
Hader's eyes then lit up with a brilliant movie idea. "'Cloudy with a Chance of Whiskey!'" he cried. "That's a totally different movie."
Check out everything we've got on "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs."
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