Sometimes, especially with non-Pixar animated films, I get the feeling that the film was made just to provide Netflix content which will allow the parents of young children time to fiddle with their phones without being bothered by their kids.
But Storks is not inane. Storks is brilliant and bursting with the kind of optimism and exuberance you can only get when kids are utterly delighted. The first time we watched it, I enjoyed hearing the laugh out loud moments alternate between kids and their parents.
The premise of the movie is that about 18 years ago, the storks decided that it would be more cost efficient to deliver packages from an Amazon.com style website rather than delivering babies. We follow Junior (Andy Samberg) as he prepares to take over the package delivery department.
We simultaneously follow a human family making choices about time spent working vs. time with their son. Themes of “family” and “genuine human connection” hover candidly behind the characters played brilliantly by Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, and Kelsey Grammer.
But after a lifetime of delivering cell phones and tablets, Junior realizes that the reason storks are put on the planet is not to be cost efficient… Rather, it is to deliver children to their families. At that point, as I sat in the theater I couldn’t have been happier to be sitting with my son on my lap and my daughter next to me.
The second time I loved the movie even more, but this time I mostly watched my kids as they watched the movie. I watched their eyes glow and their faces reflect the emotional arc of the movie. There are some movies that do more than just distract our kids while we try to get some laundry finally folded, or some dishes washed, or some statuses liked.
As I watched my kids watch Storks, it looked like practice for emotions. I think good art, whether a painting or a song or a film should exercise our emotions. The more often you do push-ups, the better you get at them. As such, maybe kids and adults will recognize feelings of empathy and familial tenderness if they practice them more often.
And I am not saying that Storks is the model instructional video for how to raise a child or even that these feelings are the ideal feelings for all children to have all the time. I’m saying that Storks isn’t good just because it’s funny, or just because it’s got a good story. Storks is a good movie that gave me and my kids the emotional workout that we needed. Comedy, and art more broadly should help us learn something about ourselves. And Storks does that. So go see it.