Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a 2009 American computer-animated science fiction comedy film produced by Sony Pictures Animation and loosely based on the 1978 children's book of the same name by Judi and Ron Barrett. It was written and directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller in their directorial debuts, and stars 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. In the film, an aspiring inventor named Flint Lockwood develops a machine that can convert water into food following a series of failed experiments. After the machine gains sentience and begins to develop food storms, Flint must destroy the machine in order to save the world.
The film premiered in Los Angeles on September 12, 2009, and was released in the United States on September 18 by Sony Pictures Releasing under its Columbia Pictures label. It earned over $243 million worldwide on a budget of $100 million, and generally received critical praise toward its colorful visuals, humor, characterizations, and voice acting, while the simple character designs and plot were mostly criticized. The film has since been expanded into a franchise, with a sequel, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, released on September 27, 2013, as well as an animated television series based on the film premiering on Cartoon Network on February 20, 2017, with none of the original cast returning.
Flint Lockwood is a wannabe-scientist who lives in Swallow Falls, a fictional tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean that has sardines as the base of its economy. Flint lives with Tim, his widowed technophobic father, and his pet monkey, Steve. Despite Flint's enthusiasm, his inventions, including spray-on shoes, a remote controlled television, hair-un-balding serum, a flying car, a monkey thought translator, and rat birds, all end in disaster and failure.
One day, Flint invents a machine that transforms water into food, called the "Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator" (FLDSMDFR). Flint turns on the FLDSMDFR in his laboratory, but ends up overloading and subsequently shorting out the house's electrical supply. He then decides to power the machine by hooking it up to a nearby power plant. When he turns the machine back on, it ends up rocketing through town, destroying Sardine Land (a park conceived by the mayor to increase tourism) before ultimately shooting up into the sky. While recovering from his failure, Flint meets Samantha "Sam" Sparks, a weather intern whose big break was ruined by the incident. Their conversation is cut short when rainbow-colored clouds float over the town and begin to rain cheeseburgers.
The town rejoices in their renewed food choices, and Flint creates a communication device to send orders to the machine and order it to create different types of food. As a result, Swallow Falls (now renamed Chewandswallow) suddenly becomes a successful "food tourism" destination. Everything is going well until the townsfolk start greedily requesting food from Flint's machine. Flint notices that the food is beginning to grow larger in size. Although he is concerned that the food is starting to "over mutate", the now morbidly obese mayor sees it as profitable for him and the city, and guilt trips Flint into continuing to make food rain.
Citizens and worldly tourists in Chewandswallow are blissful until suddenly a large tornado formed of spaghetti and meatballs threatens the town. Flint rushes to his lab to turn off the FLDSMDFR and attempts to send a "kill code" to stop the machine, but the mayor, while trying to stop him by throwing a giant radish at him, accidentally destroys the communication device after ordering a "vegas style all-you-can-eat buffet". Now unable to control the machine, the FLDSMDFR becomes self-aware, as a massive food storm is created which threatens the world. Flint gives up and loses hope. However, Tim encourages him to fix the mess. Flint gains self-confidence, places the kill code in a USB flash drive, and builds a new flying car to reach and destroy the FLDSMDFR, with the aid of Sam, her cameraman Manny, Steve and Brent (namesake of the Baby Brent Sardine cannery).
As they approach the machine in the sky, they find that it is now serving as the core of a giant meatball which it created, where clouds go in the top and a food hurricane comes out the bottom. The machine sends living food to attack them. To make matter worse, the flash drive with the kill code flies out of the window.
Back at Chewandswallow, the citizens and tourists escape while the last leftovers fall. Mt. Leftovers collapses, causing an avalanche of food that destroys the town. Despite the avalanche ravaging Flint's Lab, Tim manages to re-send the kill code to Flint's cell phone from there. Flint then goes inside the meatball, finds the machine, and connects the phone to a port. To his horror, Flint discovers that Tim accidentally sent him the wrong file, so he is unable to stop the FLDSMDFR. After the machine repeatedly tries to rid itself of Flint, Flint then gets an idea and uses his Spray-On Shoes formula on the machine, causing it to explode. With the machine destroyed, the food storm subsides and everyone is able to return safely to Chewandswallow. Tim finally shows his appreciation for his son and his inventions and Flint and Sam celebrate with a kiss. Meanwhile, the obese mayor is seen stranded in the middle of the sea, having eaten nearly all of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich boat, while muttering that his plans were not well thought out.
Walt Disney Animation Studios (uncredited)