THE STORY – Storks deliver babies — or at least they used to. Now, they deliver packages for a global internet retail giant. Junior (Andy Samberg), the company’s top delivery stork, lands in hot water when the Baby Factory produces an adorable but wholly unauthorized girl. Desperate to deliver this bundle of trouble, Junior and his friend Tulip (Katie Crown), the only human on Stork Mountain, race against time to make their first baby drop before the boss (Kelsey Grammer) finds out.
THE CAST – Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammar, Keegan Michael-Key, Jordan Peele, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Danny Trejo & Stephen Kramer Glickman
THE TEAM – Nicholas Stoller (Director/Writer) & Doug Sweatband (Co-Director)
THE RUNNING TIME – 89 Minutes
By Matt N.
Here’s a fun fact: Nicholas Stoller is the director of raunchy comedies such as “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Get Him To The Greek” and “Neighbors.” I say this is a fun fact because now he will always have the asterisk next to his name as that guy who also wrote and directed the animated movie “Storks.” You wouldn’t think that this computer animated movie comes from the same filmmaker as those other films. Gone is the vulgar humor, unexpected situations and appeal to adult audiences. “Storks” is a children’s film through and through. This is not a bad thing for the intended audience but for those who have to bring those kids to the theater, “Storks” can be quite arduous.
High in the sky and far away from human civilization lies the huge delivery business (Think Amazon.com) named Cornerstone. It is run by Storks where they deliver goods and other packages to the world. They used to only deliver babies to people but stopped after the job proved to be too dangerous and unpredictable. The boss is known as Hunter (Kelsey Grammer) and he has decided to name Junior (Andy Samberg) as his successor. However, Junior must first get an accidentally produced baby out of the warehouse and over to her rightful parents. Accompanied by the clumsy and orphaned Tulip (Katie Crown), the two must leave Stork Mountain to get the baby home to the Gardner family before Hunter finds out. Battling the elements, a pack of wolves (Voiced By Keegan Michael-Key and Jordan Peele) as well as their own differences Junior and Tulip must learn to work together if they are going to get back to the place they call home.
So what doesn’t work with “Storks?” The most glaring and obvious reason is simply that the film seems to have absolutely no agenda or reason for existing. The film is fun, light, simple and lacks any nuance or dramatic heft. It’s predictable from the opening frame to the last with a few minor chuckles throughout and a voice cast that is trying their best to salvage the material by making up for the script’s shortcomings with over the top voice acting performances.
Andy Samberg is a character in real life and he puts all of his best and annoying gifts as an actor to use here as Junior, the stork who is hoping to one day be the boss of Cornerstone. His constant back and forth bickering with Tulip (Played by Katie Crown) happens multiple times throughout the film that it seems to be the only running gag that Stoller knows how to do well. The problem is that he constantly keeps going back to these moments between the two characters where they are consistently at ends with each other and the result is a repetitive comedic bit that diminishes in its ability to make us laugh with each passing scene.
The only other positive that the film has going for it is its unbearable cuteness. Whether it is looking at the baby’s big googly eyes, or seeing Nate Gardner’s parents finally learning how to bond with their son, there are so many moments of sentimentality and audience pandering that the gimmick of the film wears off once writer/director Nicholas Stoller shows his hand one too many times. The film will certainly work its charm on younger audiences but for the parents that have to bring those kids to the film, they will be left wanting a hell of a lot more considering the range of great animated films we are able to get these days from other studios.
“Storks,” thinks it’s clever but it’s not. “Storks,” thinks it’s funny but it’s not. Whatever Nicholas Stoller wanted to achieve with “Storks” is unclear. However, we can confirm that the R-Rated comedy director has made a PG-Rated animated film that appeals to children and that is it. While the colorful animation and talents of its voice cast are evident, they are ultimately undone by Stoller’s direction and lazy writing.
THE FINAL SCORE
THE GOOD – Kids will love the lively animated characters.
THE BAD – The film has nothing important to say thus rendering it useless for adult audiences.