Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Movie Review: Storks

Directed by: Nicholas Stoller & Doug Sweetland.
Written by: Nicholas Stoller.
Starring: Andy Samberg (Junior), Katie Crown (Tulip), Kelsey Grammer (Hunter), Jennifer Aniston (Sarah Gardner), Ty Burrell (Henry Gardner), Anton Starkman (Nate Gardner), Keegan-Michael Key (Alpha Wolf), Jordan Peele (Beta Wolf), Danny Trejo (Jasper), Stephen Kramer Glickman (Pigeon Toady), Christopher Nicholas Smith (Dougland), Awkwafina (Quail).
Storks is a fairly typical modern animated film from Hollywood in that it’s the type of film that basically just throws everything at the wall and hopes something sticks. The plot is rather thin, and would probably fall apart if you examined it too closely, but as you watch the film you never really do, as you’re buried under the deluge of jokes that is nearly constant. Because the animation is good, and the voice cast appealing, I found most of Storks to be a fun little film – my clearly delighted 5-year-old daughter sitting next to me only helped me to appreciate the film more. It’s a rather shallow movie to be sure – but it does have a moment right near the end that snuck up on me so effectively, I nearly cried.
The film centers on Junior (Andy Samberg) – the best delivery stork for Storks stopped delivering babies 18 years ago, when one stork fell in love with the baby he was supposed to deliver, and ending up smashing her honing beacon, so they had no way to deliver her. This is Tulip (Katie Crown) – who ending up being raised by the storks, but really just gets in the way a lot, with her well-meaning, but overall disastrous plans.  Junior is informed that he’s going to be made the boss on Monday – when the current boss, Hunter (Kelsey Grammer) is promoted. The only thing he has to do is “liberate” Tulip. Instead of doing that, he puts her in the letter room – which is never used anymore – and once again, she messes up – putting the letter of a little boy asking for baby brother into the baby making machine – and out pops an adorably baby girl. The rest of the movie alternates between Junior and Tulip trying to deliver the baby girl with no one finding out, the chase that happens when they are eventually discovered, and that little boy and his parents (Ty Burrell and Jennifer Aniston), preparing for their new arrival – even though the parents “know: Storks don’t deliver babies anymore.
Storks is a movie that I found to be fairly consistently engaging. Samberg, as always, is a playing a lovable goofball, who just generates goodwill for his character – and he’s matched by Katie Crown – the rare time in a studio movie of this size, where they have the good sense to cast a non-star – just someone really, really good at voice work – in a leading role. In the supporting cast – as good as people like Grammer, playing the stick in the mud boss, and Keye and Peele – as a pair of wolves, arguing over who is alpha and who is beta, who fall in love with the baby – are, it’s Stephen Kramer Glickman who steals every scene he’s in as Pigeon Toady – who a Dudebro who would be insufferably annoying if he wasn’t so funny.
I’m not going to argue that Storks is a particularly brilliant film – it is pretty much instantly forgettable once you leave the theater, even for my 5 year old. She still talks about Zootopia, Finding Dory and even The Secret Life of Pets (although we had to leave that one an hour in because of snakes), but while she enjoyed Storks while we watched it, she hasn’t brought it up since. If it wasn’t for a beautiful scene of inclusivity near the end of the film – the one that nearly made me cry because it was so touching – I’d say that as enjoyable as Storks is, you won’t likely remember it a week later. As it stands, I’ll remember that sequence a lot longer than I remember the rest of the film, no matter who enjoyable it was.

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