By the time the brilliant fuck-up of a hero says to the heroine, "Why do you do that—say something super-smart and then bail from it?", Cloudy had won me over. The line is followed by a makeover of said heroine that's less about remaking her than freeing her; it rings more true than a slew of Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Bullock movies combined. Written and directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, who adapted the script from the popular children's book, Cloudy is smart, insightful on a host of relationship dynamics, and filled with fast-paced action. When failed inventor Flint (fantastically voiced by Bill Hader) accidentally creates a machine that makes food fall from the sky, he revamps his rep as the town laughingstock and catches the eye of fledgling reporter Sam Sparks (voiced by Anna Faris), who masks her intelligence beneath a veneer of ditziness. The duo is tested, of course, when things go horribly awry and lessons about self-confidence—and the distinction between confidence and assholery—get driven home. The 3-D effects are wonderful, full of witty sight gags that play out both center-screen and on the periphery, while immensely appealing secondary characters (a policeman voiced by Mr. T; a loving but tongue-tied dad voiced by James Caan; and a scene-stealing monkey voiced by Neil Patrick Harris) round off a film that plays as well for adults as kids.
Flint and Sam: our kind of animated couple.
Opens at Neptune and other theaters, Fri., Sept. 18. Rated PG. 90 minutes.