Child: Hey dad, how was I born?
Dad: Er... mmm... we asked for a baby, and a stork dropped you through the chimney.
Child: And how were you born dad? And mom?
Dad: The stork again... tadaa!
Child (muttering to himself): Wasn't anyone in this family born the 'proper' way?
Sigh. How we used to laugh heartily at the joke in school. It would have fallen flat today, though. And that is what ails Storks throughout the 100 minutes. The plot had a lot of potential: Storks have stopped delivering babies—the reason being, they botched up on one instance (really? That's it?)—and are, instead, into delivering packages for cornerstore.com. Junior (Andy Samberg) is on the verge of becoming the boss, replacing the loud and corporatesque Hunter (Kelsey Grammer).
Meanwhile, in another part of the world, Nate Gardner (Anton Starkman), pesters his workaholic parents, Sarah (Jennifer Aniston) and Henry (Ty Burrell) for a brother with “ninja skills”. Unable to convince his parents, he writes to the storks for a baby. And then, all hell breaks loose. Thanks to the only (blundering) human among the birds, Tulip (Katie Crown), Junior has to get the baby delivered (after all, cornerstore.com's motto is 'Always Deliver') to Nate without his boss's knowledge. Sounds promising, isn't it?
And it is... in patches, though. There are a few pure gems, like the wolf pack, which is after the baby (not to eat it, but to raise it!), and its 'formations' while chasing Junior, Tulip and the baby, and the 'silent fight' between the three and the penguins. Otherwise, most of the supposedly whacky smart one-liners hardly elicit any laughter. The mannerisms of the characters are nothing you have not seen before.
The frenetic pace of the film does not help either. The editing, at times, is too tight to let the audience linger over a scene, be it funny or emotional. And at other times, the scene stretches a tad too long—just enough for the viewer to take out his smartphone and check out the notifications. The film touches upon the importance of having a family, and taking time off from work to spend time with your loved ones. But the message is largely lost in the chaos.
Writer-director Nicholas Stoller manages to redeem himself a bit towards the end, tying up the loose ends in a well-executed but predictable climax in the Baby Factory. For a director who has Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Neighbours to his credit, Storks might come across as a bit of a let-down. Pity that the storks could not live up to their motto.
Director: Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland
Cast (voice): Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer, Anton Starkman, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell