Where do babies come from? That awkward question many parents have to face, resulting in a myriad of outlandish ideas to attempt to explain to a child exactly how they were created. Avoiding the scientific process, the idea that storks deliver babies to expectant parents is a theory that has just stuck, and one now perpetuated by Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland in their riotously entertaining animation Storks.
The storks found that delivering babies was too stressful, particularly after an employee once got emotionally attached to a human, unable to ever actually fulfil the job at hand. So they’ve since moved on to packages, delivering smart phones and other devices across the globe. This renovation was conducted by the head honcho Hunter (Kelsey Grammer), who seeks in promoting Junior (Andy Samberg) into his position once he vacates.
His first job for the eager stork is to finally fire the aforementioned, undelivered baby, Tulip (Katie Crown), now nearing her 18th birthday. The reason for her inevitable departure is her sheer clumsiness, and just before the deed is done she commits her most disastrous accident yet – accepting, for the first time in years, a request for a baby delivery. The only way to get out of this mess – without Hunter discovering what’s going on and preventing Junior from having his dream job – is to deliver the damn thing.
There’s an indelible humour to this endeavour, deriving from awkward conversations (mostly between Junior and Tulip) which are comparable to that which illuminated the screenplay for I Love You Man. Plus, the very fact the film is brazenly about storks delivering babies, there are naturally a handful of (rather unsubtle) jokes for the parents in the audience, about where babies really come from.
What Storks has in comedic value it lacks in pathos, not quite carrying the emotional punch to correspond with the humour. A shame as this formula, of an animal and human forming an unlikely allegiance, spiked with inevitable reality that eventually they’ll have to be separated, for home beckons (which worked so well in Good Dinosaur recently, and then of course in classics such as ET) is so often triumphant. Yet the filmmakers haven’t truly earned the viewer’s investment in that regard, presented without that vital sense of profundity, albeit vying for some in the latter stages.
But then again, this film has come from the man who helmed us Bad Neighbours and Forgetting Sarah Marshall – so what did we honestly expect?