Can you tell it was a dead week? Yeah, I would not have chosen to see Delivery Man otherwise. Although the trailer sold a decent story (with indie-pop music), I’m just not a Vince Vaughn fan. In fact, I’m convinced he doesn’t actually act anymore; he just chooses roles where he can be variations of himself. So let’s not waste any time. This will be a short review (because this movie was a yawnfest).
David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn) is your typical screw-up. He works at his family’s meat shop as a delivery man (Oh, I see what they did there), and he’s constantly late. He also owes $80,000 to loan sharks and has difficulty fulfilling basic relationship duties for his pregnant girlfriend, Emma (Cobie Smulders), who worries about whether he’ll be a good father. But surprise! David donated his sperm 693 times under the pseudonym “Starbuck,” resulting in 533 children. And now 142 of those children are suing the donation clinic to learn the identity of their father, even though David signed a confidentiality agreement with every donation. When his best friend and lawyer, Brett (Chris Pratt), gives him a packet of the 142 children, David decides to take it upon himself to watch over his children without them knowing that he’s actually their father.
What’s sad to me about Delivery Man is that it had the potential to be a good movie (with the exception of Vince Vaughn). The story is interesting (though not exactly original, as I believe an Indian film and a Swedish film share the same plot), and it leaves room for plenty of character growth and emotional depth. Unfortunately though, I think there might have been some miscommunication between the screenwriters and the marketing team. The writers knew this was a dramedy, but the marketers pushed Delivery Man as a comedy, which is probably why people who went into the movie expecting Vince Vaughn shenanigans were disappointed.
The jokes you saw in Delivery Man‘s trailer are pretty much the first twenty minutes of the movie. Honestly, if it weren’t for the lame attempt at comedy in those first twenty minutes, this movie would’ve been a lot better. It’s almost like you can tell one of the producers went down to the writing room after reading the initial script and said, “Can we add jokes? I just don’t think it’s funny enough.” And then the writers were like, “Yeah, sure. Let’s just throw them all into the beginning of the movie so we can get this asshole to shut up about our script.”
The other problem here is Vince Vaughn, who is incapable of playing anyone that isn’t Vince Vaughn (like I said above). Although the story had David Wozniak grow from insufferable man-child who makes poor decisions left and right to compassionate father and “family guy,” I didn’t ever see Wozniak. I saw Vince Vaughn doing the stressed-out rambling schtick he does in every movie. It’s extremely distracting, and it takes away from what could’ve been a sympathetic character. You know who would’ve been better in this role? Jason Segel.
Now that’s not to say this movie doesn’t have its moments. Actually, there were several scenes where I thought, “Wow, this movie isn’t terrible.” Like where Wozniak got to know some of his kids by playing guardian angel to their life woes. Whether he’s helping son Josh (Jack Reynor) get the acting job of his dreams, getting daughter Kristen (Britt Robertson) to stop doing drugs and get her life back on track, or spending some quality time with son Ryan (Sébastien René) who is physically and mentally disabled, this is where the movie’s “heart” lies. And you can tell the writers knew that (even though they seemed to rush through any major conflict in this film).
Overall, Delivery Man had the right formula to be a successful movie. It had heartwarming moments, a chance for its characters to grow and become better people together, and, of course, a good message about family. But that formula got screwed up with an unconvincing lead actor, unfocused genre marketing, and lame attempts at being funny. In my opinion, you’re not missing out on much if you don’t see this movie. And if you do see this movie (or already saw it), I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that it’s not one you’ll be dying to watch again.
Delivery Man: C-
For my radio review of Delivery Man on “Pat & JT in the Morning,” visit this link (starts around the 33:30 mark).