Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Age-appropriate food adventure goes down easily.
  • PG
  • 2009
  • 81 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 95 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 121 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Not much, unless you consider the movie as some sort of lesson about not eating genetically modified food.

Positive Messages

Kids may take away positive ideas about being liked for who you really are and not having to change your appearance just to be cool. There's also a recurring theme about parents needing to have faith in their children, as well as negative consequences for unchecked greed.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Flint shows Sam that she's beautiful even when she's "nerdy" and that she shouldn't dumb herself down for anyone. Flint's father learns to be supportive.

Violence & Scariness

A hurricane of food threatens to destroy Chew and Swallow, as well as other major cities around the world. Characters are in danger/peril due to enormous falling food -- and other food mutations (including somewhat creepy headless chickens). The "rat birds" are humorously creepy and pop up again and again -- in one case, a rat bird snatches up the "world's biggest sardine."

Sexy Stuff

Sam and Flint flirt with each other on several occasions, and in one sequence it's clear that Flint is "pursuing" Sam to be his girlfriend. After almost kissing a couple of times, they finally do kiss.


Mild insults and language include "hell hole," "knuckle scrapers," "crazy jerk," "stupid," etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this adaptation of the classic children's book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is bound to attract the 10-and-under set. While there's nothing overtly age-inappropriate in the movie, expect a bit of salty language along the lines of "hell" and and the occasional mild insult like "stupid" or "knuckle scrapers." The few tense/slightly scary scenes are weather- and giant food-related -- which could upset little kids who are sensitive to fears about natural disasters -- and there's a brewing romance between the main character and a weather reporter. Although no grand life lessons are offered, the movie does center on a son's need for fatherly encouragement and the idea that you shouldn't compromise who you are just to be popular. The movie's plot is very different than the book's, so those expecting a straight adaptation may be disappointed.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 3 and 6-year-old Written byRyan V. November 10, 2017

Just terrible

The book was cute and fun but the movie is terrible. I am a father with daughters and pre-watched this movie and decided not to let my kids watch it. The chara... Continue reading
Parent of a 10-year-old Written byviamama February 9, 2019

Racial/gender stereotypes & unchallenged bullying

The fake science is fun. The immigrant cameraman character is presented thoughtfully but the primary character of color is a caricature and a portable radio is... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old May 10, 2010

This is a great movie for kids!

I love it! It's not long, not short, and not much iffy stuff!
Teen, 14 years old Written byNonsensical_Reviews January 5, 2021

Good, funny film will entertain kids endlessly.

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs is a 2009 animated movie directed by Chris Miller and Phil Lord and starring Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Mr. T, Neil Patrick Harri... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based loosely on the popular children's book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, this animated adventure takes the book's story about a town where weather provides fully cooked meals and turns it into a 3-D fantasy about Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader), a young inventor who creates a device that transforms water into food. When Flint's invention is launched into the sky, he inadvertently saves the town of Swallow Falls from financial and nutritional ruin. Helping the town make its unique claim to fame is weather reporter Sam (Anna Faris), who's smitten with Flint. As the Swallow Falls residents (especially the fatter-and-fatter mayor, voiced by Bruce Campbell) become greedier with their daily meal requests, Flint's invention becomes more and more overheated -- until it leads to a culinary disaster that could destroy the world.

Is it any good?

Once fans of the book reset their expectations, they'll laugh at the sight of a Neapolitan-ice-cream snowfall or a drizzle of steak falling onto diners' plates at a trendy, roofless restaurant. The food in the movie isn't magical like in the book; it's the result of a science experiment that eventually runs amok. But that's fine, because the funny dialogue and the colorful food scenes are entertaining enough to make this breezy, amusing adventure a sweet treat for the whole family.

Sony Pictures Animation may not be Pixar (and, to be fair, no other animation studio is Pixar -- yet), but it previously scored with the fantastically imaginative Monster House, the charming buddy comedy Open Season, and the penguin's paradise Surf's Up. Cloudy is the studio's first foray into the profitable 3-D genre, and thanks to all of the food sequences, it's an ideal choice for the technology. The voice talent is there (Faris, in particular, is an adroit voice actress, and Mr. T is laugh-aloud funny as an overly eager town cop), though the story is so far removed from the book upon which it's supposedly based that it will likely take a moment for admirers of the picture book to see the correlation beyond the fact that there's food falling from the sky.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs' message about compromising yourself for the sake of popularity. Is that ever worth it? How does Sam change once she knows that Flint likes that she's actually smart?

  • How does the movie portray technology? When does the experiment go wrong?

  • Why does Flint want his father's approval so badly? Does his father have a point in discouraging Flint's inventions?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animation

Themes & Topics

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