Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer
Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland
Animation, Adventure, Comedy
89min (and no more, thankfully)
For grown-ups: (2 / 5)
For kids: (3 / 5)
Storks landed in my local theater tonight and I was there with my 2 daughters ages 9 and 11. By the way, I’m 47. I’m happy to report the 9 and 11 year-olds loved the film. I was only somewhat impressed.
IMDB gives this synopsis: Storks have moved on from delivering babies to packages. But when an order for a baby appears, the best delivery stork must scramble to fix the error by delivering the baby.
If that sounds like a convoluted story, you don’t know the half of it.
Kids will like it though.
This film has been promoted in theater trailers and internet for what seems like a year at least. I think the makers felt the title would resonate in so many people’s childhood memories that they would mark the premiere date on their calendar as well as their Google alerts. As old as I am, my parents never told me anything about storks bringing babies. If any parents needed an explanation, it was them. I’m the oldest of 4 siblings and I was intelligent and very inquisitive as a kid. Thankfully for me, they shared the truth about how babies are made and how they come into the world at a reasonable age: no need for storks.
My dad on the other hand did get the stork story when he was a kid. I sent him a text after the movie joking that he should see this film. Maybe he’ll get it. I think this film assumed the audience knew this dishonest legend that parents used to tell their kids. It’s ironic how parents in the 1940’s needed storks to explain the mystery of childbirth to children. After this movie, a lot of parents will have to explain the mystery of the storks in the movie through the actual explanation of birth.
But, enough about the weird stork angle, let me tell you 2 things that do work in the film. 1) The babies. The first strong impression I recall of a baby in an animated film is Jack Jack in The Incredibles. He is a firecracker. I loved the way he giggled as he was blurting out superpowers. I think he stands out in all our minds as a movie baby we won’t forget. The babies in this film are amazing in a similar way. Their voices are perfectly timed with deft CGI artistry. This makes them extremely cute and loveable. The best aspect is the laughs. Their laughs make the Pilsbury doughboy sound stand-offish. They invite you to love them. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of merch comes from this film. 2) SOME of the jokes. There is a small bird who is a sort of pseudo-nemesis. He is very funny. Some of the jokes lag too much though. I was surprised this film was so flat in its humor after having been in production for a year or more. Usually they test things like that with focus groups etc. This film feels “off the cuff” a lot. Moreover, so much is predictable because we have seen all this before.
Having said that …
Kids will like it. To them, I recommend it. All else, tell me what you think. I think I could have skipped this one and not have missed much.
This post appeared first at Riley on Film.