Eighteen years ago storks stopped delivering babies to expectant families, because the risk was too high; instead, they now deliver packages for cornerstore.com. When Nate (Anton Starkman) decides he wants a baby brother – with ninja skills – he writes to the storks and the request is accidentally put into action by human girl Tulip (Katie Crown), who not delivered to her human family when she was a baby. A new baby in a warehouse that doesn’t deliver babies is a problem however, and stork Junior (Andy Samberg) and Tulip set out to right the problem before anyone notices.
Brought to the big screen by the studio that gave us The Lego Movie, and Nicholas Stoller, director Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the Bad Neighbours films and writer of Zoolander 2, Sex Tape and the recent movies starring The Muppets, there are high hopes for this film, even though the concept feels rather similar to the Pixar short Partly Cloudy.
Andy Samberg leads the cast as the ambitious stork Junior, and brings his usual manic, over the top and slightly awkward vocal style to the performance, This is all well and good as Samberg’s schtick, but between Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping and Brooklyn Nine Nine, this is beginning to feel a little tired and overdone. Katie Crown does well as Tulip, but seems to pick up the over the top energy from Samberg, which means there is a lot of talking and squawking going on in the film. It is Stephen Kramer Glickman as Pigeon Toady who comes off worse in the film however; the character, the voice and the accent used tries very hard to be funny, but the character just ends up being annoying, over the top and hard to watch. The rest of the cast features Jennifer Aniston, Kelsey Grammer, Ty Burrell and Danny Trejo.
As screenwriter Nicholas Stoller seems to have taken inspiration from the Pixar short Partly Cloudy, then mixed this into any animated adventure film you can think of. There are some questionable choices throughout the film, however, such as a wolf pack that can somehow transform into vehicles and the notion that any woman who sees a baby falls in love with the tiny human. These notions feel strange and cliché and do not work for the rest of the story, which tries very hard to be touching.
As director, Stoller’s choices seem to have been mainly surrounding the speed at which the characters talk, making the film feel manic, frenetic and almost overwhelming in how much is being thrown at the screen. There are some touching moments in the film, particularly toward the end, but the story of the storks does not always mesh well with the sub plot of the humans.
In all, Storks is a film that feels manic and messy. Some of the animation is beautiful and there are moments of sweetness, but the overall feel of the film is one of a brightly coloured, frenetic mess with some incredibly irritating characters, and jokes that do not often work. Sadly, the Lego short before the film is much more entertaining than the main event.