Parents have been lying to kids about where babies come from for eons. So it’s surprising that it took this long for a flick to be made about the strangest explanation of procreation ever. Andy Samberg voices Junior, a stork who’s been making big moves as the company he works for pivots its business model from baby delivery to online order distribution. (Think maternity ward gets bought out by Amazon.) Wackiness ensues when he accidentally turns on the Baby Making Machine (less sexy than it sounds) and produces an extra little girl. Junior has to hide the excess bundle from his boss (Kelsey Grammer) while he and Tulip (Katie Crown), the only human who works on Stork Mountain, figure out what to do with it.
Ty Burrell, Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, and Jennifer Aniston also get their voice talents mixed in, and the whole thing is co-directed by a former Toy Store animator and the guy who co-wrote The Muppets. So this sounds great, right? But will your kid be into this animated feature, or will they be as dismissive as when you brought their younger sibling home?
For Kids: Unless they’re a precocious comedy fan (they like Carlin — mostly the old stuff), they’ll probably enjoy Storks well enough. Roger Moore of Movie Nation says that it’s “Uneven, but laugh-out-loud Looney Tunes wacky when it works.” Matt Donato over at We Got This Covered isn’t as forgiving, calling the film “uncomfortably unfunny,” “tonally confused,” and leaving kids with “many questions for parents to awkwardly stumble over during any post-screening car rides home.” If your kid isn’t quite old enough for “the talk,” have your distracting subject-changes ready.
For You: Andy Samberg is at his best when he gets to crack jokes and swap riffs with his Storks co-stars. Michael Rechtshaffen at the Hollywood Reporter says there’s “a nice, snappy playfulness in the rapport between Samberg and engaging newcomer Crown” that “also extends to the Aniston/Burrell and Key/Peele dynamic.” (It’s almost like the latter 2 have worked together before or something.) But Chris Barsanti at Film Journal International writes that despite the high-concept plot, the jokes in this movie “land about as often as its storks manage to avoid flying into windows.” (Which is to say, not often.)
Common Sense’s Take: Common Sense Media, the leading nonprofit source that helps parents make movie and TV choices for their kids, says yeah, your child will probably have some baby-origin questions. There are also some racy innuendos that will hopefully go straight over their heads. CSM does praise its messages about “teamwork, perseverance, and compassion,” and for exploring what it means to be a family that doesn’t feel like saccharine pandering. Ugh, that’s the worst kind of pandering.
Bottom Line: No one seems to be leaning towards out-and-out raves. Depending on who you read, it’s either a “mostly enjoyable animated romp” (Scott Mendelsohn, Forbes) or “strenuously unfunny” (Owen Gleiberman, Variety), which is kind of 2 sides of the same “meh” coin. You might want to save your time and money for the DVD release. At least then you can just get it off Amazon (from a drone, not a stork) and hit pause to take your kid’s queries. Or just sit in an uncomfortable silence.
Running Time: 100 minutes
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