In this age of billion-dollar, candy-colored, fully digital child-distraction movie-making, the new chatty-animal adventure comedy Storks wouldn't have to be good in any way to be wildly profitable. It often is good, though, hilariously so, its too-familiar misfits-become-a-family storyline enlivened by flights of lavish comic invention. Its set pieces, especially a howler about a pack of wolves going gaga for a plumply adorable human baby, live up to the last-century promise of the WB logo that opens the film. At its best, as when lead stork Junior (Andy Samberg) face-plants again and again into sheets of glass that birds simply cannot see, this shit is looney tunes.
At its worst, though, it's more of the clamorous same, the usual anthropomorphised CG whatevers hanging onto out-of-control vehicles while comedians in sound booths somewhere shout "Come on!" or "You've got to be kidding me!"
In between Storks' bumptious best and worst are its uncertain quiet patches. These are a relief from the sugar rush/freeze headache of the action, but they also advance patently awful lessons about parenting. While the storks are caught up in their mayhem, down in suburban America a mom and dad must learn to turn off their work phones and remember how to play. In this case that means putting their small business on hold to help their lonely son add a tornado slide and landing platform onto their roof.
There are plot reasons for this, but, still, the zealous family time rankles: There's a medium between workaholic neglect and abandoning your livelihood to remodel according to your child's idiotic whims. Were the animators and designers responsible for Storks' relentless beauty and bustle allowed to knock off if their kids needed playmates?