“Storks,” like the most famous folkloric image of the titular bird — airborne and carrying a hammocked baby in its beak — is a thing at once cute, ungainly and seemingly lighter than air.
Centered on the delivery of a wide-eyed, pink-haired poppet by a wisecracking stork (voice of Andy Samberg) and his human companion, the animated comedy is overstuffed with adorableness (along with a bit too much plot). Fortunately for the very young children who will flock to see it, it is a sweet enough confection, albeit as insubstantial as a ball of cotton candy.
The stork in question is Junior, who aspires to run the Amazon-like service that the storks’ business model has evolved into after abandoning baby-making to coyly unspecified alternatives. (Parents: Be warned that the more inquisitive of your offspring may leave the theater with some awkward questions about human reproduction.)
When Tulip (Katie Crown) — an orphaned 18-year-old who was never delivered because of an accident involving her tracking hardware — inadvertently creates an infant in response to the request of a little boy (Anton Starkman) for a baby brother, she and Junior head off in a flying machine with the child. (Junior can’t fly because of an industrial accident.)
Along the way, their progress is obstructed by a pack of ravenous wolves (two of whom are voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele); the apparently deranged stork who failed to deliver Tulip all those years ago (Danny Trejo); and the CEO of Stork Mountain (Kelsey Grammer) and his obsequious underling (Stephen Kramer Glickman), who … oh, never mind. The details of the plot amount to little more than a rollicking, ridiculous bunch of rot anyway. Most of it is only mildly amusing, except for a running gag in which the wolf pack transforms itself into a series of structures and conveyances, including a suspension bridge, boat, submarine and minivan.
A little more of that weirdness and a lot less of the cuteness would have made for a better movie.
There are no standouts among the voice talent, and the computer animation is only serviceable to a tale that is, at best, a temporary distraction from the fidgeting all too common to its target audience (and not much of a distraction at that, judging by the incessant kicks delivered to the back of my seat at a recent screening). “Storks” delivers its package, but it’s a bundle of just-OK, not joy.
Rated PG. Time: 1:27.