There have been lots of great animated films this year but with this one, I figured it would just be a fun diversion at the movies with a cool cast including Andy Samberg, Kelsey Grammer, Ty Burrell, Jennifer Aniston, Danny Trejo and Key & Peele. This film also had the added benefit of having Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Last Man on Earth, The LEGO Movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) on-board as co-executive producers to share their own comedic sensibilities to the picture. And while I wouldn’t say it was a laugh riot as much as Cloudy… was, I still had a good time with it and just watched it for what it was intended to be: big goofy fun.
The plot is predicated on the assumption that for years, storks actually did deliver babies to people’s homes so long as they received a letter in the mail from the hopeful parents, which they could then transform into a newborn child. Eventually, the storks have changed their enterprise to a simple delivery company with a warehouse thanks to the head honcho (Kelsey Grammer). He ends up tasking his hardest worker, Junior (Andy Samberg) with ridding the place of the one human who works there, Tulip (Katie Crown). Instead, he sends her to the mail room away from everyone else but when she receives a letter requesting a child and puts it into the baby-making machine, they must quickly deliver said child before Junior’s boss finds out and he doesn’t receive his promised promotion.
The acting talent in the film is quite good. Andy Samberg always does a good job with his animated stuff. He has one of those voices that fits just about any cartoon character he can play while he also has a leading man vibe surrounding him. Katie Crown is not someone I was super familiar with but she is a good addition even though she gets most of the “straight” material. Kelsey Grammer uses his booming voice to play a good intimidating villain as you would expect while we also get some fun appearances from Key & Peele as two wolves and Danny Trejo as Jasper, a stork that had gone rogue. Ty Burrell and Jennifer Aniston play humans and are fine as well but they really don’t have as much to do as most of the other characters.
Like I said above, this movie is a lot of fun and doesn’t pretend to be anything more than that. The majority of the humour lies in the visual gags of which there are plenty and a lot of the funny lines come so fast and furious that it will have you consistently laughing at the antics on-screen. There are several inspired sequences throughout the film with the best one involving Junior and Tulip attempting to rescue their baby from a pack of wolves (including the voices of Key & Peele), who have quite a knack at suddenly coming together to form a variety of objects like a bridge, a boat and yes… even a plane. What’s increasingly funny about the wolves as well is that they’re just as enamoured with the baby’s cuteness than anyone else in the movie so Junior and Tulip use that to their advantage in a number of humourous ways.
The writing is pretty cute. To go with the accepted idea that storks have always delivered babies is pretty funny as is to think of the idea of a stork that has “gone rogue.” As soon as I heard Danny Trejo’s voice I immediately recognized him and thought that was a very funny bit of casting. Who would expect him to show up in a movie like this? The story arc of Jasper was interesting because they actually had a plot twist that I didn’t fully expect and it ended up giving the movie some cute sentimental moments. I haven’t said a lot about the B-plot focusing on the human family themselves awaiting the arrival of the newborn baby but that’s because it wasn’t really a big deal and kind of took the steam out of the plot’s momentum even though they did have a few amusing moments.
It’s a fun little movie – lots of enjoyment for kids and adults alike!
* (Brutal; the worst rating)
** (Some elements keep it from being awful but still not very good)
*** (Completely watchable; a rental as old-timers might say)
**** (Great film with a few things here and there keeping it from being perfect)
***** (Flawless; a true achievement)