Storks parents guide

Storks Parent Review

This story about big-billed birds and their delivery service soars when it depicts the irresistible charm of babies.

Overall B+

Once upon a time, storks delivered babies. Nowadays they only deliver packages -- that is until a blunder at factory produces one more bouncing bundle. Now Junior (voice of Andy Samberg) must work with Tulip (Voice of Katie Crown) to finding the little one a home.

Violence B-
Sexual Content B+
Profanity A-
Substance Use A

Storks is rated PG for mild action and some thematic elements.

Movie Review

According to folklore, storks have had the honor and duty of delivering infants since the dawn of time. Although often a challenging task, the feathered flyers maintained a flawless record up until eighteen years ago. That was when Jasper (voice of Danny Trejo), one of their ranks, went crazy and destroyed the destination beacon on the bundle of joy he was entrusted with. The serious mishap had long reaching effects. First, the flock was forced to adopt the undeliverable little girl. Second, the parcel distributor decided to quit the baby business. Since then, storks have handled only non-living cargo—and the decision has proved profitable.

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The eighteenth anniversary of the event also marks another milestone. The human orphan they named Tulip (voice of Katie Crown) is now an adult, so the big-billed birds no longer need to take care of her. And that’s a blessing because the redhead’s well-meaning contributions to work efficiency usually have counterproductive results. Hunter (voice of Kelsey Grammer), the boss, should be the one to fire her but he’s too chicken to do the dirty work himself. Instead he recruits company climber Junior (voice of Andy Samberg) to do the job. Unfortunately, the underling hasn’t the heart to do it either.

Eventually, Tulip finds herself “promoted” to manager of the obsolete mailroom for the now-defunct baby factory. Yet before Junior can congratulate himself for having found a creative solution to the problem, a rogue letter arrives from a child requesting a sibling. Just as quickly the eager new employee fires up production and fills the order. Before he knows it, Junior and Tulip are engaged in a desperate attempt to get the newborn to its rightful home before Hunter discovers what has happened.

The ensuing road trip includes perilous situations, scary wolves (voices of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele), devious penguins, a stool pigeon bad guy (voice of Stephen Kramer Glickman) and several chase sequences. Along the way, the unlikely pair learn to appreciate and have sympathy for each other, as well as work together for the welfare of the wriggling package. While the depictions of silly antics and slapstick violence are occasionally tedious, the animation still has some redeeming qualities.

Some of these are found in the secondary storyline about the lonely boy (voice of Anton Starkman) who thinks a younger brother might be a consolation for his work-aholic parents (voices of Ty Burrell and Jennifer Aniston). When he tells them he’s asked the storks to deliver a playmate, Mom and Dad giggle at first. Yet over time his persistence with the idea helps the couple think about some important things they might be neglecting.

My favorite part of the movie is something the script calls “baby cuteness.” As contagious as the flu, those who get near infants need to protect themselves by never looking them in the eye and never giving them a name. By the end of the film, just about everyone has been infected by this strange sickness. And it is delightful to see a story celebrate that charm. If the storks’ changing business tactics are to blame for the recent declines in population, then beware. The birds’ renewed interest in this department, plus the chortlers and chucklers portrayed here, might just motivate another baby boom.

Directed by Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland. Starring Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer. Theatrical release September 23, 2016. Updated

Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Storks here.

Storks Parents Guide

Why does Nate want a baby brother so badly? What qualities does he think his younger sibling should have? Why are his parents less than enthusiastic about this desire? What things help them to remember the joy of having children?

What is Junior’s real goal? What is Tulip’s? How do these motivations influence the way they care for the baby? How does looking after the little one affect the way they feel about the infant, their goals and each other?

Have you had any interactions with youngsters? Have you ever experienced baby cuteness?