PLOT A stork must deliver an unexpected baby to her parents.
CAST Voices of Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer
RATED PG (mild peril)
BOTTOM LINE Clever jokes and cute moments mostly make up for the contrived story. Good for young viewers, but get your sex-ed speech ready.
Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy may be regular visitors to your house, but the stork? Chances are he never existed for you. In fact, the idea that anyone grew up believing in the stork seems as much of a myth as the myth itself.
Give credit to writer-director Nicholas Stoller (“The Muppets”), who directed with Doug Sweetlan, for choosing this widely known yet somehow overlooked creature as the basis for his animated film “Storks.” Although Stoller has to bend over backward to fashion a proper story, and he concentrates more on humor than on emotional impact, “Storks” has just enough wit and imagination to keep it airborne for its child-friendly running time of 89 minutes.
Our hero is Junior, an amiable stork with the voice of Andy Samberg. Hardworking, popular and ambitious, he’s the favorite employee of Hunter (Kelsey Grammer), the broad-shouldered CEO of a massive delivery service called Cornerstore.com. At some point, it seems, the storks got out of the baby business and into retail. (If you’re wondering where babies have been coming from since then, just keep that to yourself.)
A few more convoluted concepts are needed to kick-start the action. Tulip (Katie Crown), the sole human employee at Cornerstore, accidentally activates the dormant baby machine, which means she and Junior must now secretly deliver one adorable, pink-haired little girl to the Gardner family (Jennifer Aniston and Ty Burrell voice the mom and dad). During their journey, they’ll confront hungry wolves, a rogue stork named Jasper (Danny Trejo) and Hunter himself, who for unclear reasons wants to keep the baby.
Does that all make sense? How about the odd feeling that Junior and Tulip are becoming husband and wife as they dote over their new infant? No matter. Viewers younger than 8 won’t care, and they’ll surely enjoy such characters as the irritating Pigeon Toady (Stephen Kramer Glickman) and the zany wolfpack (Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele play the leaders). The animation, by Sony Pictures Imageworks, is warm and expressive.
By the way, if you were hoping “Storks” would explain to your little ones where babies really do come from, no such luck. That’s still your job.