Nice package – Delivery Man review

Delivery Man

By Jess Lomas
December 4, 2013

Lightning doesn’t strike twice for director Ken Scott, whose American remake of his own French-Canadian film, Starbuck, delivers charm but few laugh-out-loud moments. David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn) is a forty-something screw-up in Delivery Man. He works as a delivery driver for his father’s delicatessen, is in debt to the tune of $100,000, his girlfriend Emma (Cobie Smulders) is pregnant, and to complicate matters further, he’s just found out his vigorous season of anonymous sperm donation years ago has accidentally fathered 533 children. A class action lawsuit is filed against David by 142 of his children who wish for the identity of their donor “Starbuck” to be revealed.

When David’s friend and lawyer Brett (Chris Pratt) provides him with an envelope filled with profiles of his children, David takes it upon himself to help some of them out. From a son who wants to become an actor, to a daughter who has a drug overdose, no problem is too big or small for this unexpected father. Though he finally finds purpose and fulfilment in his life through the family he never knew he had, David can’t keep it up forever, especially if he doesn’t want to lose Emma in the process.

Delivery Man

Those hoping for another Wedding Crashers will likely be dissatisfied with Vaughn’s latest offering, which instead is yet another mildly amusing notch in his man-child character belt. David, who has somehow entered his forties without becoming a functioning member of society, is an overrepresented character in the Apatow-era of comedy. It’s run its course. While the premise is unique, the movie lacks originality in style and supporting characters, especially Smulders, who is criminally underutilised as a cardboard cut-out girlfriend. Thankfully, Pratt’s performance, as a lawyer turned stay at home dad, is consistently charming and funny, helping compensate for Vaughn’s overworked rendition.

While the picture is billed as a comedy-drama, it is heavily sentimental and light on laughs, and it is perhaps this misleading marketing that will disappoint some viewers. There are some beautiful moments throughout – in particular when Vaughn meets his intellectually disabled son – but these scenes feel jarring compared to the goofy comedy that juxtaposes it. Much like David’s character, Delivery Man has a good heart, and the message conveyed is not lost through the heavy handed direction. It’s refreshing to see an essentially sweet comedy but it needed more laughs and less cheese to truly resonate.

2.5/5

Delivery Man arrives in Australian cinemas December 5, 2013.

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