A middle-aged slacker, who as a young man had effectively masturbated for a living under the name ‘Starbuck’, discovers that he is the father of 533 kids. I thought Delivery Man‘s plot sounded quite interesting when I saw the trailer for this a few weeks prior. How hindsight makes fools of us all.
No-one disputes that David Wozniak (Vince Vaughan) is a good guy. Everyone just thinks he could try a bit harder. He’s a delivery man for his family-owned meat shop, a job he’s not very good at. Robin Scherbatsky aka Emma (Cobie Smulders) is his girlfriend, pregnant no less; but he’s a terrible boyfriend, let alone father material. And hes tens of thousands of dollars in debt, money he plans to recoup by growing pot; so he obviously isn’t very good at life in general. And just when he’s got enough to worry about, 142 of his kids compile a law suit to find out who he is. Ouch.
He may have had numerous names in as many films, but it seems like Vaughan’s character doesn’t change. His trademark fast-talking dope acting on a mad whim seems to reappear from year to year. And having myself given up on any variety on his part, the last time I personally saw him was in The Dilemma, a film that’s best service to anyone was to point out that ‘dilemma’ doesn’t have an ‘n’ in it.
Director Ken Scott has already done this story once before in the Canadian film Starbuck, which he co-wrote with Martin Petit. The concept has legs, but its potential is unrealised as I think this is a scenario that could be developed further in a more dramatic vein.
Though instead of developing the plot, we get those things that pop up when it seems writing dialogue is all too hard, those bloody musical montages, including the themes: ‘look at David being a good guy’, ‘this is supposed to be poignant’, and the sickeningly twee ‘let’s all bond and sing by the campfire’. And while there are a few nicely done set-pieces, the plot seems all too familiar leading to a conclusion everyone saw coming.
Chris Pratt as David’s down-and-out, single father lawyer friend is the most entertaining and Vaughan has his moments, but disappointly Smulders’ character is desperately undeveloped and lacks any kind of comic presence. Nine seasons of How I Met Your Mother obviously don’t count for much, eh.
I’m all for a ‘feel-good movie’. But this throwaway rom-com just left me flat and unconvinced and wondering where all the parents are who actually raised these kids for the past 20 years, and why they don’t merit at least a mention.
Delivery Man is on national release from December 5 through Disney.