By Chaz Lipp
It’s hard to imagine Storks not being a huge fall hit for Warner Bros. as it offers laughs, an irresistible (if ultimately muddled) premise, inventive animation, and inspired voice acting. More entertaining in fact than either of summer’s gigantic (and overrated) animated hits, Finding Dory and The Secret Life of Pets, the film (co-directed by Neighbors 2‘s Nicholas Stoller, who also wrote the screenplay, and Doug Sweetland) has plenty of older-viewer appeal as well endless fun for kids.
Storks have long abandoned the practice of delivering babies, favoring the more lucrative world of retail shipping. While the world has apparently returned to conventional means of human conception, an army of enterprising storks operate an Amazon-esque product delivery company called CornerStore.com. Their baby production department has been permanently shut down. Junior (voiced by Andy Samberg), a stork eyeing a big promotion from CornerStore CEO Hunter (Kelsey Grammar), is tasked with firing the company’s sole human employee. The now-18-year-old woman, Tulip (Katie Crown), is a remnant of the old baby-delivering days. She was never delivered to her family after the storks lost her designated address.
Junior doesn’t have the heart to kick Tulip out of the only home she’s ever known. He secretly lets her “work” in the abandoned mail room. When Tulip receives a letter from a human child, Nate (Anton Starkman; too bad it’s not Storkman), longing for a sibling, she plunges CornerStore back into the baby business. Vainly attempting to protect his impending promotion, Junior and Tulip set out to deliver the newly-minted child to the Gardner family (Jennifer Aniston and Ty Burrell provide the parents’ voices). Along the way the trio suffers various setbacks, including being pursued by a hilariously resourceful wolf pack (led by wolves Alpha and Beta, voiced by Keegan-Michael Key & Jordan Peele).
The question of “where do babies come from” may provoke some inevitable questions from young viewers. The film, of course, skirts the whole issue of biology but in doing so it might inspire some serious confusion in youngsters. We used to need storks to start a family, then we didn’t, and now maybe we do again? Best advice, don’t dwell on that particular conundrum too much and instead focus on the fast-paced comedic antics. Not unlike most other animated features these days, Storks indulges in sensory overload—the constant barrage of frantic visuals is particularly exhausting in 3D (a format I usually avoid; I think I would’ve preferred standard 2D in this case and didn’t find the 3D effects particularly necessary). It also manages to get excessively cute, but in the end its heart (and sense of humor) are in the right place.
Storks Images: Warner Bros.