Delivery Man (2014)

Delivery ManA delivery driver for the family-owned butchers, David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn) has always had money problems, but that hasn’t stopped him from doing his best for the people around him. He once donated sperm so that he could afford to send his parents to Venice, though that ingenuity hasn’t prevented him from owing $80,000 to the wrong kind of people. When his girlfriend (Cobie Smulders) tells him that she’s pregnant, he begins to have doubts about his ability to raise a child. Little does he know, however, that a small hiccup at the sperm donor clinic has already landed him with 533 children, 142 of whom are pursuing a civil action lawsuit to uncover his identity. Luckily, he just happens to know a lawyer (Chris Pratt).

What was the last Vince Vaughn movie you enjoyed? Or, rather, what was the last Vince Vaughn movie that you didn’t actively detest? The actor’s schtick, his smug, fast-talking comedic style, is by most accounts unbearable, and for me at least the only Vince Vaughn films I that I could bear to watch again are those that cast him in comparatively straight, supporting roles — whether it’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park or Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Happily, Delivery Man sees him in a comparatively straight, leading role, and he just about carries it.

Vaughn is surprisingly affable as David Wozniak, and his toned-down performance is not just bearable but occasionally pretty funny. He is as put-upon as ever, but for once he doesn’t entirely seem to deserve his run of increasingly, and increasingly contrived bad luck. It of course helps that he has a better standard of supporting cast, and both Chris Pratt and Cobie Smulders shine in roles that would have traditionally gone to the likes of Owen Wilson or Kevin James (in drag, obviously). The extended family are fine too, with Jack Raynor’s barista and Britt Robertson’s shop-assistant standing out from an impressive pack of up-and-comers.

Unfortunately, the film seems to lose its way as it enters the second half. A remake of French-Canadian movie Starbuck, once again directed by Ken Scott, Delivery Man does little to iron out its predecessors flaws. The subplot involving a dodgy pyramid scheme and equally dubious debt-collectors adds nothing to the narrative, and serves only to waste time that could have been better spent fleshing out Smulder’s police officer and expectant mother. There is also an unsavoury descent into cringe-worthy schmaltz, as Vaughn holes up with one of his children and tries to connect with the other 141 through regular meet-and-greets. None of these children seem particularly angry about their situation, and while the premise may be unlikely the neatness of the resolution is completely unbelievable.

As far as Vince Vaughn films go, Delivery Man is really rather good. It’s funny, moving and likeable — the perfect pick-me-up for Black Monday. It’s undeniably flawed, however, and you can’t help but but expect slightly more when the director has had two chances to get it right.

2.5-Stars

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

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