Animated movie Storks takes a bizarre premise in a dull direction


Two and a half stars

Storks Voices of Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Anton Starkman. Directed by Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland. Rated PG. Opens Friday citywide.

For an animated family movie, Storks raises a surprising number of disturbing biological questions. In the movie’s world, storks actually do deliver babies, literally flying them from an isolated mountain and depositing them on the doorsteps of their parents. But people also make babies in the traditional way, which is why the storks have in recent years given up on the whole baby-delivery thing and instead become the main shipping agents for an Amazon-like corporate conglomerate. Go-getter stork Junior (voiced by Andy Samberg) is about to be promoted to the top position in the shipping warehouse, but first he has to deal with Tulip (Katie Crown), a human teenager who’s been living with the storks ever since her delivery info was lost as a baby.

Tulip inadvertently allows the creation of a new baby, and she and Junior must deliver it before the big boss finds out. Storks gets points for the sheer weirdness of its setup, but writer and co-director Nicholas Stoller (veteran of adult comedies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Neighbors) mostly glosses over it in favor of kid-friendly animal antics (including an incredibly annoying pigeon villain). There are some vague lessons about family and togetherness, but the plot is too incoherent to make any of them stick. All of the weird, unsettling edges get smoothed out into something cute and bland.

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