Storks ain't what they used to be - they now deliver packages for Amazon, er, no,



Deliverance: Junior and the product


With the world’s population approaching eight billion, we now get a movie extolling the mass production of babies. Or so it used to be for, whose airborne couriers happen to be storks and other avian aviators. But times have moved on and with the demand for instant retail gratification, the storks now deliver anything but little bundles in swaddling clothes. The company is overseen by a corporate shark/stork called Hunter (voiced by Kelsey Grammer) who has decided to replace himself with his chief courier, Junior (Andy Samberg). Junior’s first duty is to fire the human employee Tulip (Katie Crown), whose hare-brained ideas for improving the company invariably misfire – disastrously. She’s a liability. She was also the last baby to be produced by the factory, eighteen years previously. However, Junior just hasn’t got the nerve to dismiss her to her face. But when he relocates her to the mailroom in the hope that she will never be seen again, she inadvertently manufactures a baby girl. And the baby has a home it needs to be delivered to…


The idea of delivery drones being anthropomorphized into the storks of folklore is not a bad one. However, Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland's computer-animated romp is a scattershot and raucous affair. In a bid to fill out its meagre running time, it takes an anything-goes approach, littering the screen with visual non sequiturs. So one sequence in which a young boy is attempting to prevail upon his work-obsessed parents to hatch him a sibling is followed by a frenetic chase through a frozen wasteland in which Junior and Tulip are hunted by an army of wolves. In short, the film is all over the place. But some of the scenes do work. There’s a nicely judged skirmish between Junior and Tulip and a gang of pitiless penguins played out in virtual silence – so as not to wake the sleeping baby. And when the factory is depicted in full baby-making mode, there is considerable ingenuity at play.


The voice cast – which includes Jennifer Aniston, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele – is hit-and-miss. Katie Crown is terrific as Tulip but Stephen Kramer Glickman as a self-consciously streetwise pigeon (complete with Donald Trump quiff) is embarrassing. And the overall ugliness of the visual look just perpetuates a worrying trend in computer animation.




Voices of  Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Danny Trejo, Stephen Kramer Glickman.


Dir Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland, Pro Brad Lewis and Nicholas Stoller, Screenplay Nicholas Stoller, Ph Simon Dunsdon, Pro Des Paul Lasaine, Ed John Venzon, Music Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna.


Warner Animation Group/RatPac-Dune Entertainment/Stoller Global Solutions-Warner Brothers.

88 mins. USA. 2016. Rel: 14 October 2016. Cert. U.