Get ready, parents. The onslaught of questions about where babies really come from is on its way. And Storks, the latest from the Warner Animation Group (The Lego Movie), does you no favors. It’s cute and harmless (assuming you have the attention span of a mosquito and a tolerance for slap-dash, frenetic mayhem) but it never answers the question, and actually raises a bevy of new ones.

The storks, you see, used to bring babies to folks, but eighteen years ago the big-dog stork named Hunter (Kelsey Grammar) transitioned the company out of infant deliveries and into package service; they now handle all the deliveries for (which, oddly, is a real website for real stores─more than 200 locations primarily in the Texarkana area). So presumably parents have since gone back to getting babies the ol’ fashioned way?

The storks’ last baby went undelivered all those years ago, and now human teenager Tulip (Katie Crown) lives among the birds (including emus and chickens) in a giant shipping container in the sky. At the same time, a junior stork named Junior (Andy Samberg) is in line to take over the operations from Hunter, who is headed up the corporate ladder. Junior’s first assignment is to fire Tulip and let her finally head off to meet her real parents. (Long story.) He doesn’t fire her, instead exiling her to the desolate wasteland of the now-defunct mail room.

Meanwhile among the humans, little Nate (Anton Starkman) is trying to convince his parents (Ty Burrell and Jennifer Aniston) to give him a baby brother. Being gonzo real estate agents, they don’t have the time or inclination for another kid, so Nate takes matters into his own hands after finding an old Stork brochure in the attic. He writes a letter, which ends up in Tulip’s hands, and she and Junior eventually set off, baby in tow, to make the delivery.

Along the way there’s also a nefarious pigeon (alternating between surfer-dude vibe and urban street lingo) who is out to foil their plan. And, oh yeah, there are also wolves (led by Key and Peele).

It all adds up (more than a little incoherently) to a bizarre, random movie punctuated by the wolves shape-shifting (Wonder Twins-style) into a submarine and a suspension bridge, the pigeon having psychedelic visions as he attempts to muck up the works, and a wacky side-turn through a glass factory (because, you know, birds can’t see glass).

So, no─not much in Storks makes any sense at all, but I can’t imagine that matters a hill of beans to the young eyes in the audience; they’ll be too wowed by the nutjob-ness of it all and a plethora of 3D-for-3D’s sake to care. What the movie lacks in any sense of a logical (or even halfway intelligible) narrative, it makes up for with a non-stop barrage of visual treats.

Co-directors Nicholas Stoller (The Muppets) and Doug Sweetland (Pixar’s Prestoshort) are all over the place, but give them credit for keeping things, um, interesting? Adults may wander out of the theater muttering to themselves, “What the heck was that?” but their kids with be bouncing off the wall yelling, “That wasall that!”


3/5 stars

Worth the 3D glasses?

I’m still trying to figure out what the heck even happened in the movie, but yes, there’s plenty of 3D fun. Bubbles, flying envelopes, and baby’s chuting down an assembly line, just to name a few.