‘Storks’ reviewed: What parents need to know
“Storks” is a zany, nonsensical, madcap adventure that revisits the age-old question: “Where do babies come from?”
The animation is colorful and clever, featuring lots of adorable babies with psychedelic hair coloring. The dialogue is enhanced with voiceover cast featuring many recognizable Hollywood actors. Parents will appreciate the film’s emphasis on family, and the message of working together to overcome obstacles.
The story is about storks working for Cornerstone, a package delivery company similar to FedEx. The storks used to deliver babies, but they decided it was more profitable to deliver business packages and offer postal services.
The stork’s baby production is also shut down because of technical difficulties; the storks are unable to deliver the last baby that comes out of the machine.
This baby is adopted by the Cornerstone company, and her name is Tulip (voiced by Katie Crown). Sadly, Tulip is a creative misfit who experiments with new ideas for Cornerstone, like jet packs for flightless birds, but her contraptions backfire and explode.
The CEO of Cornerstone is a stork named Hunter (voiced by Kelsey Grammer.) He wants to promote the company’s top delivery stork, Junior (Andy Samberg), to CEO, so that he can become the company’s Chairman. In order to be promoted, Hunter demands that Junior fire Tulip from Cornerstone. It’s an assignment that no one wants to do. Junior doesn’t want to hurt Tulip’s feelings, so he transfers her to an abandoned mail room that the storks formerly used to process mail orders for babies.
Meanwhile, a boy named Nate Gardner (Anton Starkman) yearns for a baby brother. Nate’s parents (Jennifer Aniston and Ty Burrell) are real estate agents who run their business from their kitchen table. Their attention is focused on incoming texts, emails, faxes and phone calls. They’re too busy to spend time with Nate.
Nate finds an old advertisement for the storks, unaware that their baby-making operation is shut down. Nate writes a letter to the storks, asking for a baby brother. The letter makes its way to Tulip in the mailroom at Cornerstone. In a strange twist of events, Tulip activates the company’s old baby-making machine, and out plops a baby sibling for Nate.
Junior and Tulip decide to deliver the baby to Nate and his parents. They don’t tell anyone at Cornerstone what they’re doing. They created an “unauthorized infant” which might jeopardize Junior’s chances of getting promoted. It’s a race against time as Junior and Tulip travel to the Gardner home to secretly deliver the baby. Along the way, they struggle with adverse weather conditions, technical problems with their equipment, and are ambushed by ferocious wolves.
You might be wondering about this being a safe movie for kids, especially little ones.
It’s rated PG, probably due to a few perilous scenes and cartoon violence. A pack of wolves viciously attack and pursue the main characters. Planes and flying contraptions crash, explode or are demolished. Babies are dropped from high places. Characters fall, crash and fly into glass windowpanes. Small birds are unwillingly used as ping-pong balls. Characters are chased, threatened, stabbed with forks, tied up with ropes, hung upside down and hit with sticks. There are explosions, crashes, and fires causing property damage.
Characters are accused of kidnapping. Parents are portrayed as workaholics who neglect their children, although they eventually have a change of heart. There are brief pictures of same-sex couples adopting babies. There is also the issue surrounding Tulip, who has been separated from her family since birth due to a freak accident with the stork’s baby-creating machine. The movie also raises questions about corporate greed (negatively portrayed) though it will probably fly over the heads of most youngsters.
Overall, it’s a toss-up as to whether your children will like this movie. It emphasizes the importance of family, and working together to overcome obstacles.
The plot, timing and delivery left something to be desired, however. The movie implies that parents should cherish the time we have with our children, rather than being hyper-focused on our work and moving up the career ladder. That’s a good message, right? Yes, but audiences will have to sift through a movie that is often times ridiculously absurd and frustrating in terms of the plot, timing and delivery.
“Storks” is currently playing in theaters.
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