Sunday, 27 September 2009

Tasty, with a chance of social satire

It's raining in New York City. We know this because we have been cyberstalking elder daughter again, looking longingly at the drenched steps leading to the Metropolitan Museum of Art where she spent this morning. After lunch and last-minute shopping, she'll be bussed back here by late evening. She's seeing Central Park and Little Italy, Billy Elliot and West Side Story. We saw....Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs....

And you know what? It wasn't so bad. In fact, it was rather good.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a rarity in that it's one of the few children's picture books that I haven't read. I've shelved it often enough while volunteering in school libraries over the past nine years, but have never actually opened it. The movie takes a germ of an idea for a jumping-off point into a wild and wacky tale about an inventor whose inventions are marvelous, miraculous, but all seem to have a fatal flaw. Or several.

Our hero is a large-eyed, tousled-haired fellow in a long coat who can fix problems through mad improvisations with every-day items and is a wee bit out-of-it in recognizing romantic cues from women. Remind you of anyone? Okay, make the big blue eyes big brown ones and a imagine a slightly dodgy London accent. So that's part of the charm right there, but the film is full of sly blink-and-you'll-miss-it jokes that made the adults in the audience roar. (And quite a few adults showed up at this matinee without kids.)

My favourite bit was when the hero finds the heroine attractive when she puts her glasses on. There's a tiny bit of scatological humour, but younger daughter loved the idea of a town being blanketed with food (particularly ice cream) and the Resident Fan Boy and I enjoyed the digs at American news-reporting.

Younger daughter's verdict after the film? "It was tasty!"

Yeah, it is. Have a light snack before you go see it.

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