Entertainment·FILM REVIEW

Storks a surprisingly snappy and contemporary comedy, says CBC's Eli Glasner

What happens when a stork and an orphan join forces to deliver a baby? That's the premise behind the refreshingly zany new animated movie Storks, says CBC film critic Eli Glasner.

Cartoon with classic premise compensates with zany energy, inspired performances

At first glance Storks may seem like a cliché-ridden throwback, but the newest cartoon from Warner Animation group is a surprisingly snappy and contemporary comedy. (Warner Bros. Pictures)

At first glance Storks may seem like a cliché-ridden throwback; birds delivering babies in 2016?  

But the newest cartoon from Warner Animation group is a surprisingly snappy and contemporary comedy. Like The Lego Movie (which hails from the same studio), Storks has a madcap and refreshingly modern sensibility. Part of that is credited to Nicholas Stoller, the co-director and writer better known for Seth Rogen bro-comedies.

This is a world where storks have transitioned into the package-delivery business. Junior (Andy Samberg) is an eager up-and-comer awaiting promotion by Hunter, an alpha-bird voiced with gusto by Kelsey Grammer.

But before Junior can take the reins, he needs to fire the accident-prone orphan Tulip (Katie Crown). When Tulip inadvertently creates a baby, however, they join forces to deliver the squishy package. Imagine Arthur Christmas — but with diaper jokes.

As generally the case with animated features today, Storks is stuffed with celebrity voices. Key and Peele turn up as baby-besotted wolves. Jennifer Aniston and Ty Burrell voice overworked parents blind to their son's loneliness.

But it's some of the lesser-known actors who truly make Storks sing, including Oakville, Ont., actress Crown, who invests Tulip with an infectious, can-do giddiness.

For singular strangeness, no one comes close to Pigeon Toady, voiced by Stephen Kramer Glickman (another Canadian). Toady is a insufferable bird, pecking his way into everything, waddling around with a Trumpian toupee and clip-on tie. The voice Glickman creates for the meddler sounds like Foghorn Leghorn drenched in California brah-speak.

A silent penguin battle is one of the many zany highlights of the new animated film Storks. (Warner Bros. Pictures)

From Toady's silly schemes to the movie's hilarious silent-penguin battle, Storks is filled with a refreshing weirdness that makes it a demented delight. 

Yes, it devolves into magical sappiness by the end, but there's plenty of laughs along the way. 

RATING: 3.5 out of 5 stars