A lit­tle bun­dle of con­fu­sion

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS - TARA BRADY

STORKS Di­rected by Ni­cholas Stoller, Doug Sweet­land. Voices of Andy Sam­berg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Gram­mer, Kee­gan-Michael Key, Jor­dan Peele, Jen­nifer Anis­ton, Ty Bur­rell, Danny Trejo, G cert, gen­eral re­lease, 87min Is it wrong for a grown-up critic to get per­nick­ety over the logic of a uni­verse wherein talk­ing birds are ma­jor play­ers in global par­cel de­liv­ery? Well, if ques­tion­ing the car­toon fowls is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

As Storks opens, the feath­ered waders have, un­der the guid­ance of hawk­ish chief ex­ec­u­tive Hunter (Gram­mer, in fine, bel­low­ing form), quit the baby-de­liv­er­ing game to fo­cus on parcels. A se­ries of mis­ad­ven­tures brings the heroic Ju­nior (Andy Sam­berg) and his bum­bling hu­man side­kick Tulip (Katie Crown) ac­ci­den­tally back into the baby-dis­tri­bu­tion busi­ness.

Will the mis­matched pair make it across the tun­dra with­out Hunter find­ing out? And will Nate, the lonely son of busy es­tate agents (Ty Bur­rell and Jen­nifer Anis­ton), ever re­ceive the ninja sib­ling he wished for?

So far, so con­vo­luted. But here’s the rub. If storks haven’t been de­liv­er­ing ba­bies for years, then shouldn’t the hu­man world re­sem­ble the one in Chil­dren of Men? How has all the re­pro­duc­tion oc­curred in their ab­sence? And if hu­mans don’t need storks to de­liver ba­bies, then what is the point of all this?

Work­ing along­side for­mer Pixar an­i­ma­tor Doug Sweet­land, Ni­cholas Stoller (the writer-di­rec­tor be­hind Get Him to the Greek and Bad Neigh- bours 2: Soror­ity Ris­ing) can’t un­tan­gle the film’s messy mythol­ogy, but he can add plenty of in­ci­dent and a few zingers. Sam­berg and Crown make for an ex­cel­lent, snappy bick­er­ing duo, and a great sup­port­ing voice cast in­cludes Danny Trejo as Tulip’s crazed pur­suer.

Still, we ex­pected bet­ter from the stu­dio that gave us The Lego Movie. Rather wor­ry­ing, Storks is pro­ceeded by The Mas­ter, a dis­ap­point­ing five-minute short based on Lego’s Nin­jago line. The Lego Bat­man Movie and The Lego Nin­jago Movie are due next year. Must try harder.

Ju­nior (vioced by Andy Sam­berg) in Storks

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