Storks ***

Birds, babies and belly laughs are a great combination.

Is it worth $10? Yes

What a cute little confection “Storks” is, an animated tale from the studio behind  “The Lego Movie” that has plenty for adults and will keep kids smiling. There’s nothing special about it, yet everything about it is enjoyable.

For years, storks delivered babies to humans. They had their own factory to make babies and everything. It was good business. But times caught up with them, technology evolved, and about 20 years ago they left the baby business. Now they make package deliveries for Amazon, err,, and business is booming. With the boss (Kelsey Grammer) about to retire, top delivery bird Junior (Andy Samberg) is asked to take over. All Junior has to do is one thing: Fire Tulip (Kate Crown), a human girl living with the storks because her delivery tracker was broken.

Junior can’t bring himself to fire her, so he sticks her in the desolate mailroom, which just happens to be the defunct baby factory. When a resourceful boy named Nate (Anton Starkman) with neglectful parents (Ty Burrell and Jennifer Aniston) asks the storks for a baby brother and Tulip makes one, Junior and Tulip have no choice but to deliver the baby. Misdirection, rivals, a pack of wolves and more get in the way.

It’s a surprise to learn “Storks” was written and co-directed (with Doug Sweetland) by Nicholas Stoller, the director of crass boy comedies such as “Neighbors” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” It turns out the sequences in “Neighbors” in which parents played by Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne struggle to care for their baby were inspired by Stoller’s own experiences, and sure enough the difficulties of caring for a baby are on full display in “Storks” as well. But there’s more than that – Stoller’s story also hones in on the precious cuteness of infants, and how they’re cherished with “ooohs” and “awwws” when at their most adorable. If you love babies, you’ll find this irresistible.

If you’re not a baby person, and/or don’t like birds, the movie is still full of funny one-liners and consistent humor. The wolf pack gets big laughs for its endless resourcefulness as it works together, and with its leaders voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, we expect nothing less. Andy Samberg is solid as Junior, who means well but can’t get out of his own way, and credit to Stephen Kramer Glickman for providing an annoying voice to Junior’s rival, a pigeon named Toady, yet finding a way to make him endearing rather than grating.

Kids will enjoy the crisp 3D animation, imagination and innocence of the story, and parents will relate on two levels: Nate’s workaholic parents come around to the joys of quality time with their son, and Junior and Tulip struggling to care for the baby they’re transporting. We’re usually lucky if animated films connect with adults at all; to have it happen in two distinct ways makes “Storks” a real treat.

Did you know?
Burrell’s Mr. Gardner is a realtor; his character on “Modern Family” is also a realtor.

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