Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Movie review: Storks

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Though not much makes sense in this animated comedy, it manages to be both amusing and a touch moving, even if my daughter described the premise around storks delivering babies as "weird".

Yes, there may be interesting conversations on the way home, but thanks to the mad collection of characters and ideas it's likely there will be things to discuss other than ordering a baby via stork.

In fact, even the storks realised decades ago that delivering babies was perilous, after one of them failed to deliver a baby (Orphan Tulip who now lives with the Storks) they've moved into a less emotional logistics business, delivering packages for a global internet retail giant, Cornerstore.com.

A scene from the animated film Storks.
A scene from the animated film Storks.

Junior (Samberg), the hero of the delivery team, is about to be promoted to Boss - as soon as he fires 18-year-old Tulip (Crown), who is inventive but accident-prone.

But Junior can't bring himself to "liberate" the only human on Stork Mountain, and when Tulip accidentally fires up the Baby Making Machine and makes a baby, they find themselves secretly back in the baby delivery business.

To get Baby to her rightful home, they face ferocious wolves, who work so well as a pack they create a bridge, boat, and even a plane, out of themselves. It's an example of taking a whacky idea and really seeing it through.

There's also a nosy, socially awkward pigeon called Toady (voiced brilliantly by Stephen Kramer Glickman), who visualises his life as a music video and is keen to see Junior go down, and the emotionally repressed Junior and quirky Tulip, who tend to act on their own impulses.

The human element of this story is told through Nate (Anton Starkman), an only child with workaholic parents who orders a baby to keep him company. When his parents find out they finally put down their phones and help transform their house into a giant Stork nest with slides, flashing lights and carnival rides - another example of taking an idea and running with it.

A scene from the animate film Storks.
A scene from the animate film Storks.

And that's what makes Storks so much fun. It's over-the-top crazy, and filled with the kind of ideas kids would come up with and affable characters who wear their heart and weirdness on their sleeves. As you'd expect from the writer of the recent Muppet movies (Nicholas Stoller), there's plenty of humour that will appeal to young and old, in particular as temporary parents Junior and Tulip struggle to look after a newborn.

The voice work also deserves a mention, with Stoller's characters demanding more personality and comedic timing than your average animation. Everyone hits the mark - no more so than Samberg, who manages to create a complex character out of our hero Junior.

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It may be a rather perplexing premise, but somehow the chaotic and unpredictable slapstick, sight gags, and sharp script translate into a fun, sweet story about family and belonging.

Cast: Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Jennifer Aniston
Director: Nicholas Stoller & Doug Sweetland
Running Time: 87 mins
Rating: G
Verdict: Crazy good fun for the whole family.

- TimeOut

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