Having helmed the likes of Bad Neighbours and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Nicholas Stoller now turns his comedic capabilities to a family setting, teaming up with Doug Sweetland to present Storks. Needless to say the filmmaker’s experience in more grown-up endeavours serves this narrative well, with a inclination to be playfully irreverent for the kids, and chuck in a fair few jokes for the adults too. Given the tale thrives in the notion of where babies come from, it’s safe to assume there’s a lot of material in that regard.
Thanks to the guidance of shrewd entrepreneur, and stork, Hunter (Kelsey Grammer), the birds have decided to stop delivering babies. An incident took place 18 years earlier, where one of Hunter’s employees became too attached to the infant that it failed to make a successful delivery to the expectant parents, presenting a key flaw in the business model – and so the winged creatures now deal strictly in technology devices, with a reliable service dropping off phones and computers instead of human beings.
That very child who was never delivered is Tulip (Katie Crown) and she’s a menace in the work place, clumsily interfering with the diligent business that is ongoing. So Junior (Andy Samberg), who is vying for a promotion, is tasked with firing her – but is unable to do so. It’s a decision he regrets too, for Tulip absent-mindedly accepts a request for a baby, and it transpires that the only way to eradicate this situation – without Hunter finding out – is to get the job done. So Junior decides it’s time to go back to the old days, and deliver the poor little mite.
Storks comes devoid of pathos, not quite tugging on the heartstrings in the way that it should. Not that such a response should be a prerequisite for animations, but when you have the likes of Pixar releasing such wondrous, emotive movies, the bar has been set incredibly high, as the ability to create a film that is both entertaining and profound has become something of standard with this particular genre. Not being poignant is not so much of a problem if the film patently avoids any such territory, but Stoller and Sweetland are evidently seeking to achieve an emotional reaction from the viewer with the film’s finale, but it simply hasn’t earned it.
Alas, Storks does make for highly amusing cinema, with several moments that will have the parents and children laughing in unison, albeit for wildly different reasons. Inspired by the likes of I Love You, Man, with that awkward, conversational style of humour, here’s a film that will certainly make you smile; but regrettably, that’s pretty much it.