Delivery Man

Who doesn’t love a Vince Vaughn film? I know I do. You know exactly what to expect. An easy watch with plenty of laughs. That’s what we were treated to in 2013’s ‘The Internship’ and what I hoped for when beginning ‘Delivery Man’.

‘Delivery Man’ is an English-language remake of ‘Starbuck’, a French-Canadian release which was heavily praised by the film critic masses. ‘Delivery Man’ follows the story of David Wozniak (Vaughn), a man who finds out that he has fathered over 500 children after donating sperm almost 700 times as a young man. Enough to flip any man’s life on it’s head right? Add this to the pregnancy of his girlfriend and the group of shady looking characters poaching him for unpaid debts. Wozniak is stuck between the pressure of his children and his anonymity which produces a premise which is both potentially amusing and emotive.

Neither aspect is quite fulfilled. The film starts off feeling like any other Vaughn film. Wozniak is a super-likable screw-up with money and relationship problems. Much is the opening to ‘Dodgeball’. However, these money problems aren’t leading to the loss of his gym, but his life.

The film’s focus is rarely on Vaughn’s comedic presence, separating it from many of his other films. Rarely is Vaughn’s trademark charm given the chance to produce the laughs it has in the past. The film should not be seen as a comedy, but more of a film with comedic moments. It is a shame these comedic moments are so infrequently funny.

Lacking killer laughs, the film’s emotive quality makes the film watchable. ‘Delivery Man’ places its focus on very real moments in Wozniak and his children’s interactions, some which are handled well, his interactions with Ryan, and others less so.

Yet, even these moments cannot hide the film’s holes. Being a film about family, relationships and a good man’s attempts to do the right thing, I was surprised not to be more emotionally touched. There are moments of real emotion where, I’m not afraid to admit, the tears were close, but these moments were as infrequent as the laughs.

Though the comedy and emotion may be lacking, Vaughn puts in a decent account of himself. He provides the likable screw-up needed and does it well. Age is catching up to him, but his heart is in the right place. Vaughn may be made more likable in contrast to his two main supporting actors. Chris Pratt, a hot quantity at the moment, playing Wozniak’s friend and lawyer, is the cynic to Wozniak’s optimist. However, he does so in such a manner that it comes off as simply aggressive and abrasive. Abrasive is also a word I would associate to Cobie Smulders’ performance. Playing the mother of Vaughn’s unborn baby, she is well within her rights to be frustrated by Wozniak’s uselessness. Yet even when reconciled, there is a detachment between the two; Smulders’ initial abrasive nature never seems to totally dissipate. Neither supporting actor is bad, but neither would call it their finest performance.

Overall though, this is not an awful film, but simply ‘Delivery Man’ doesn’t quite deliver. ★ 1/2

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