By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
The new movie by the Warner Animation Group (The Lego Movie) delivers laughs, but also might have a tendency to grate on one’s nerves with some of its over-the-top cartoonishness and some jokes that are just plain duds. Judging from the reactions of the audience at the screening I attended, the film seems to be a big hit with children and some of the adults. So unless one’s offspring are begging to see the film, this one might be best left for home viewing.
At one time the Storks created and delivered babies to couples and families. However, that time has passed and babies are acquired through other means. Known for their delivery skills, the storks came up with a business plan and now deliver for the internet company Cornerstore.com. Junior (Andy Samberg), one of the top employees of Cornerstore, has been selected by CEO Hunter (Kelsey Grammer) for a major promotion. Keeping that promotion gets rather messy, however, when Junior and his human employee Tulip (Katie Crown) accidentally turn on the baby machine and forced to make the delivery before anyone finds out.
Written by Nicholas Stoller and directed by Stoller and Doug Sweetland, Storks starts out a bit roughly with some jokes and characters that I found somewhat unfunny and annoying; however, midway in the adventure the film picks up delightfully with humor that works well for both children and adults. Overall, the movie is fun and imaginative at times with some heartfelt moments, but I would have preferred that some of the characters had been toned down a tad. One particular character, a douche bag named Pigeon Toad (voiced by Stephen Kramer Glickman), comes across so exaggerated with the voice work so cartoonishly affected, I groaned and cringed every time the character appeared.
I found the rest of the characters somewhat likable, though. Andy Samberg does a great job as the protagonist Junior. His rapid-fire delivery and timing works really well for the stressed and neurotic character. Katie Crown mixes the right amount of energy and optimism to pull off the character of Tulip beautifully. Kelsey Grammer is absolutely perfect as the intimidating and powerful CEO Hunter. The movie also features hilarious voice work by Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele as two wolf leaders who antagonize the protagonists along their journey. Danny Trejo also delivers an awesome performance as stork Jasper. Last but not least, Jennifer Anniston, Ty Burrell, and Anton Starkman star as the Gardner Family. Young Nate Gardner (Starkman) puts in a request for a brother to the storks, while his parents Sarah (Anniston) and Henry (Burrell) are too caught up in their careers. Nate’s wish is granted when Junior and Tulip accidentally fill the order.
To be fair, this movie wouldn’t make for a bad matinee visit to the theater, but I wouldn’t pay more than that to see it. Overall, the movie has its issues with its humor and the development and portrayal of some of its characters, but thankfully, the movie hits its stride midway and offers a satisfying climax and conclusion. This second movie by the Warner Animation Group doesn’t quite live up to its first offering, The Lego Movie, but then again, that is a tough act to follow.