Based on the 1978 children’s book with the same title by Judi and Ron Barrett, “Cloudy” features Flint Lockwood, (voice of Bill Hader) the only child of middle class, hardworking parents in Swallow Falls. Even as a little boy, Flint dreamed of being an inventor and he spent much of his time working on inventions in his homemade, but elaborate laboratory with his sidekick, a pet monkey.
Flint’s unusual inventions, such as spray on shoes that would solve the world problem of kids with untied shoes, often left him the butt of jokes. Recognizing the hidden talent in her son, Flint’s mother encouraged him to pursue his dream and gave him a white lab coat, in effect telling him that he could be the inventor he always dreamed of becoming.
Yet, Flint’s dad had other plans for him. He wanted his son to follow in his footsteps and take over the bait shop he ran in Swallow Falls. Sometime after his mother’s death, Flint agrees to abandon his dreams and begins work at the bait shop.
But the lure of inventing kept drawing him back and he snuck back into his lab and became the most popular person in Swallow Falls when his invention produced amazing results.
A storm of delicious cheeseburgers began falling from the sky, much to the delight of the hungry island residents who typically live on a steady diet of sardines. Bolstered by this success, Flint tweaked the machine over the next weeks and took orders from residents. He served everything from sirloin steaks to hot dogs to a kids’ fantasy of ice cream scoops that fell and created ice cream sledding hills and mounds.
While the food from the sky began as a glorious, welcomed treat, as is often the case, too much of a good thing can have negative side effects. In this case, they are waste, overeating and greed.
A pile of uneaten food grew and grew until it dwarfed the city. The mayor, the leader of the overindulgent crowd, quadruples in size as he constantly pours more food into his mouth and a young boy nearly dies from over-consumption.
In addition, the food falling from the sky continues to grow in size and the final blow is a spaghetti and meatball storm that threatens to destroy the entire community.
With the help of a young, attractive rookie weather reporter, Sam Sparks (voice of Anna Faris), Flint puts the clamps on his invention which has gone haywire and calm returns to Swallow Falls – which had been renamed Chewandswallow – by the greedy, now obese, mayor.
There are lessons to be learned in this cartoon fantasy, most obviously the hazards of overeating and the dangers of tampering with nature. But there are more subtle lessons such as being who you are, not what others want you to be, and the importance of the bond between father and son.