The Bock’s Office: ‘Storks’ doesn’t quite soar but gets the job done
Birds of a feather flock together, so if you’re planning to see the cartoon “Storks,” you might want to go with the group of friends who have a high tolerance for silliness.
If you go…
“Storks,” rated PG
Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars
Running time: 89 minutes
Starring the voices of: Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer and Jennifer Aniston
Everyone knows that since the dawn of time, human babies have been presented to new parents by the majestic stork. But, things have changed in recent years, with the storks switching their business model to the far more profitable package delivery for online retailer Cornerstore.com.
No one’s got a better track record than a stork named Junior (voice of Andy Samberg), and his hard work is about to pay off as the next in line to replace the longtime CEO (Kelsey Grammer) of the company.
Standing in the way of this promotion — the orphan Tulip (Katie Crown), a teenage human who was determined undeliverable at birth and has never left the premises as a result. Tulip’s proficiency in creating disasters takes a whole new turn when she accidentally makes a request for a baby happen, an unauthorized action that could jeopardize Junior’s career.
The only way to save his job is to deliver the infant without anyone knowing, something he can only do with Tulip’s help, but in their quest to get the baby to its new family, they must face a wily wolf pack, a persistent pigeon (Stephen Kramer Glickman) with a grudge and every bird’s worst nightmare: clear glass.
Samberg’s goofy nature would make him a fit in just about any cartoon, though he works perfectly here as an avian everyman with a lot to lose and an endless list of injuries to withstand in trying to get his living cargo to its destination as quickly as possible.
Voice actress Crown makes the jump from TV to features as lovable loser Tulip, an optimistic, overeager inventor who’s spent her whole life trying to live down being the one indirectly responsible for the shutdown of the baby operation. And, just like another famous redhead, she wears around her neck a broken piece of the homing beacon that was intended to connect her to her parents.
Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are fun as ever as the bickering leaders of a den of wolves that decide they want the baby in question to raise as their own, their underlings able to form everything from a suspension bridge to a submarine in their pursuit.
Then there are the folks who will be bringing home this new bundle of joy, Ty Burrell and Jennifer Aniston fine as the overworked parents of a boy named Nate (Anton Starkman), whose “Cat’s in the Cradle” manipulation is years ahead of its time as he takes it upon himself to get a new playmate by making a request to the storks for a brother.
Because everyone knows the proper way to get a baby is to write a letter to a bunch of birds. What, do you know a better way?
Don’t worry, that certain three-letter word never makes an appearance in this cutesy update of the age-old myth imparted on gullible kids for millennia. Putting aside the peculiar twist on genetic engineering at work here — there is literally a machine called the Baby Factory that spits out fully formed human beings — it’s best to appreciate this from a child’s point of view.
After the success of “The Lego Movie,” Warner Animation Group is slowly getting a reputation in the cartoon world for its bizarre sense of humor and an energy that some may deem excessive, a “Looney Tunes” sensibility attuned to Generation Y and younger.
It’s cute, no denying that, especially the bubbly baby that incurs love at first sight, as well as its family-to-be that starts coming together as they anticipate the new arrival. But, as far as the plot goes, it’s a tale of finding your one’s place in the world that takes the same course as pretty much every other similar story with the added burden of a pigeon supporting character that’s like all the drab, annoying office workers of the world rolled into one.
It won’t be remembered as a classic, but “Storks” delivers the laughs well enough to work its charms. If you’re looking for solid logic for some of its inconsistencies, well, I’m afraid that’s on back order.
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