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STORKS: 2 STARS. “has promise but never really delivers the goods.”

screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-5-49-47-pmBeing an only child has its benefits. You don’t have to share clothes or wait in line for the bathroom, but Nate Gardner (voice of Anton Starkman) is lonely and one day announces to his busy parents, “I’ve decided I want a baby brother.”

To speed the process along the youngster writes a letter to the folks at Stork Mountain. “Dear Stork Delivery Service,” he writes, “Our son really deserves a baby brother. P.S. He has to have ninja skills. Signed adult parents Perry and Sarah Gardner… adults, not Nate.”

What Nate doesn’t know is that Stork Mountain head honcho Hunter (voice of Kelsey Grammer), a white stork and the executive CEO of Cornerstore.com, dropped babies years ago in favour of picking up packages. Why did they stop? Because there are other ways to get babies.

With huge profits rolling in the CEO offers the company’s top job to Junior (Andy Samberg). With over 1 million deliveries under his beak, he’s their best stork, but the new job it comes with a caveat. Junior must fire the company’s lone human employee, Orphan Tulip (Katie Crown), but the brash-but-kindhearted bird can’t bring himself to let her go. Instead he assigns her to the least used department in the company, the Letter Sorting Department.

Tulip intercepts Nate’s letter and accidentally feeds it into the Rube Goldberg-esque Baby Making Machine—literally a machine that makes babies, and not… well, you know what you were thinking—and through the science of baby making transforms the note from pen and ink to an adorable baby girl

Trouble is, Junior has never delivered a baby and doesn’t know what to do with the unauthorized child. He knows he must do something before Hunter gets wind of the kid. With a wounded wing Junior has no choice but to take Tulip along as they begin a wild adventure to unite the child with Nate and his parents. “If I can deliver this by Monday I can still be made boss,” says Junior.

“Storks” never quite takes flight. A manic mix of action-adventure and kid’s humour, it often feels padded by cut-a-ways and musical numbers and never met a gag it can’t run into the ground with repetition. There are several stand-out moments, like a silent battle between storks and penguins, kept quiet so as not to wake the baby and the ever-morphing Wolf Pack, who can change Transformers style into anything from bridges to submarines, but everything else is over-amped and loud with a side of sentimentality thrown in.

Samberg is perfectly cast as the brash but not-so-bright lead character and Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele provide funny and interesting voices to the Wolf Pack leaders but most of the voices are as undistinguished as the story.

“Storks” has promise but never really delivers the goods.

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