Storks (2016)  
A Review By Ben Hunter
3 Out Of 5 Stars


I like a cute girl, but this time I really do deserve the hot one.    


Remember when mom and dad told you bedtime stories?  Or through some cartoon that you saw?  At some point in your childhood, at least for my generation, we “learned” the classic age old question, “where do babies come from?”  And the answer was flapping in our faces, from birds.  Birds who delivered babies in blankets to our homes for loving parents to cherish and nurture, and those kids would get babies someday of their own from “storks”.  

A good way to think of a new movie to make is to answer “what if”.  What if we flopped more into this fairy tale that we learned as kids?  Well, again, at least my generation and before, the world is a lot different today.  Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek, The Five Year Engagement, Neighbors, Neighbors 2) relives his childhood in the latest animation, heavily laced with promotion for the empire of “Lego” that is upon us, with Storks.

One day, up until 18 years ago, storks did just that, delivered babies.  As a prominent business in society, in God-like manners operating high up above the clouds, the Storks were detrimental to everyone and their mission statement depicted such.  Delivery travels became difficult, safety and protection of goods and services soon became a problem, so the storks got out of human delivery (yet convenient to the story, kept their baby making operations operational) and deliver other goods to consumers now, Amazon without trucks.  

With a mix-up of a stork who became attached to a baby he was assigned to deliver, the baby, Tulip (Katie Crown), is the hair that breaks the camel’s back that stops the baby delivering operations.  Not knowing what to do with her, the storks keep her working around the factory.  Awkward and weird and feeling lowering than others, Tulip emanates Albert Einstein’s vintage and time-honored lesson about finding the genuine worth in another person and that we should always believe in ourselves, never letting anyone tell us otherwise.  You know, the stuff that “Disney” movies are made of (Disney in quotes because this is from the studio that brought you Lego, Warner Bros. … oh crap, now I’m promoting it … what, there was a lot of promotion!) “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”.  If Tulip is judged by her ability to be a stork, she will spend her entire life thinking she’s awkward and worthless. 

Well, that’s exactly how everyone feels.  And today is her 18th birthday, so the storks can legally “release her” back to the world.  And by that they obviously mean fire her as they are no longer obliged to responsibility.  So, stork CEO Hunter (Kelsey Grammer) calls in his best and most talented stork Junior (Andy Samberg) to do his dirty work and fire Tulip as his initiation to take over the company.  Of course things don’t go according to plan and now we have a child accidentally created by the old strings of the baby factory pulled together.  So Junior and Tulip quest to take the baby to its parents while Junior hopes to work up the courage to tell Tulip the truth or at least a digestible version of it to spare Tulip’s feelings and keep her happy living life as a civilian amongst other humans.  

Junior (Andy Samberg) & Tulip (Katie Crown) in Storks
A lot of intriguing originality in a lot of areas.  Katie Crown and Andy Samberg aren’t instantly identifiable voices so I wasn’t thinking of our world instead of focusing on this one like I should, as I normally do with any run of the mill animation.  “Oh so and so a favorite actor/cute celebrity/douchebag famous person is talking right now, yeah she just filed for divorce, did an interview with …” instead of focusing on the movie like I should and as I did with Storks.  

Yet, once I started recognizing some names that are easily identifiable and the story got a little too convenient for the purposes of getting the train in motion, I diverted back to wondering about the latest season of Andy Samberg’s TV show and how the characters will work out there.  Or who the heck Katie Crown is and where have I seen her before, what’s Kelsey Grammer think of the upcoming election, etc.  

I wanted a more vilified villain and the distinctions clear “this is bad we can all agree, so let’s cheer on our heroes as they try to stop it!” as it needs to be with animated films geared for families.  The objectives of the villain weren’t despicable but totally fine by me as a working professional, former business major in college, who’s starting up his own company and open to employing people someday and keeping a tight ship, etc.  So there were funny and lovable characters that made me giggle from time to time, with little cookies to nibble and be rewarded with because they wove it in properly before, but nothing to complete a FULLY DEVELOPED story which this wasn’t.  A lot of it just kept me scratching my head as to why it was necessary.  And why they didn’t just do this instead of that which they gave us.  All wrapped in a perfectly crafted film in sync with the moral and political direction that has taken over America with a vengeance.  “It’s great for kids Ben, so stop complaining.  It’s not something to rival the best in animation this year, but it embraces the new moral direction of the country, it’s great for kids, we’ll all smile, and if you don’t, you somehow are a hateful bigot just a little.  So stop complaining Ben.”  

And then when you can swallow that part and the credits are rolling, you can at least say, “ha, that was cute”.  And then get on with the rest of your life.  

Family, 89 Minutes, PG
Written By: Nicholas Stoller
Directed By: Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland
Cast: Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer, Ty Burrell, Jennifer Aniston, Danny Trejo, Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key

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