Delivery Man (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner10/01/2014

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 103 mins

Ken Scott's American remake of his own French-Canadian comedy has all the same problems as the original film, but remains an enjoyable, feelgood comedy with a likeable performance from Vince Vaughn.

What's it all about?
Directed by Ken Scott, Delivery Man is an American remake of Scott's French Canadian comedy Starbuck, which was inspired by the same newspaper reports that lead to the documentary Donor Unknown. Vince Vaughn stars as meat truck driver David Wozniak, a 40-something slacker who suddenly discovers that he's the biological father to 533 children (thanks to his enthusiastic visits to the sperm bank in the 1980s) and that 142 of them want to meet him and are filing a suit for his identity to be revealed.

After filing a counter-suit with his lawyer friend Brett (Chris Pratt) to try and protect his identity (he's only known anonymously to the children, as “Starbuck”), David becomes curious about his progeny, so he begins tracking them down one by one and helping them out, Guardian Angel style. To complicate things further, David's girlfriend Emma (Cobie Smulders) announces that she's pregnant and there's also the small matter of the loan sharks who keep popping round to violently retrieve the $80,000 he owes them.

The Good
Vince Vaughn slightly tones down his usual fast-talking screen persona and plays things relatively straight, which is effective, whilst, perversely, still being slightly disappointing. That said, what he loses in comic impact and manic delivery, he gains in general sincerity, generating a series of touching relationships without descending into forced sentimentality.

In addition, there's strong support from Chris Pratt (whose character has several unruly children of his own) and Cobie Smulders makes the most of her painfully underwritten role, particularly during a climactic confrontation scene where she's required to quickly cycle through three different emotional reactions and still manages to make the entire scene convincing. On top of that, the script delivers the occasional decent laugh and maintains a decent balance of comedy and surprisingly emotional moments.

The Bad
It's probably fair to say that remaking the film has highlighted some of the problems of the original, most notably the less convincing moments, such as the daughter (Britt Robertson) who makes the world's fastest recovery from heroin addiction because she gets a job in Bloomingdales, or the emo son (Adam Chanler-Berat as Viggo) who seems like a character from a different film. In addition, the loan shark subplot adds nothing to the story and Emma's pregnancy is weirdly sidelined when there's obvious potential in David's conflict between his unborn child and the 533 children he's keeping secret.

Worth seeing?
The remake lacks some of the scruffy charm of the original, but Delivery Man remains an entertaining and emotionally engaging comedy-drama with a strong central performance from Vince Vaughn.

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Content updated: 18/10/2017 15:46

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