I am well aware of Vince Vaughn's huge popularity, and I like him, too. Unfortunately, this film and his last several haven't helped his acting cred, but they've certainly enhanced his bank account, which I'm sure will be the case here.
There is nothing better than a great comedy. I've said this before. But comedies are supposed to make you laugh, not cringe. The "Delivery Man's" cringe factor is way up there, with virtually no chuckles forthcoming.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you already know that Vaughn plays "loser' David Wozniak, a delivery man for his father's meat business in New York City. Twenty years earlier he donated a boatload of sperm to a clinic to the tune of $24,000. Now he finds out that the organization overused his contributions and he has fathered 533 children, 142 of whom want to sue to learn his identity.
Originally, this was a French-Canadian film out last year, which David and I missed. It, too, was directed by Ken Scott, who co-wrote that screenplay with Martin Petit. "Delivery Man" could have been funny and poignant, instead Vaughn hacks his way through the material with his glib sense of immaturity.
Vaughn is getting just a tad old to be playing loveable, but incompetent bachelors. Cobie Smulders stars as his police officer girlfriend, Emma, but I found it imperiously difficult to believe that she would have put up with his shenanigans --- I don't care how "cute" David acts. It's annoying --- are there no single men out there who aren't complete dolts?
Chris Pratt is actually pretty funny as Brett, David's beleaguered "attorney", who is really more of a stay-at-home dad. The few amusing lines belong to him and his adorable children.
The truth is this --- moviegoers are going to see "Delivery Man" no matter what we critics write or say. That's fine, but if it were my time and money, I'd go see "The Hunger Games" or a few other films currently in theaters and save "Delivery Man" for a snowy night in January at home.
Opinion: Wait For DVD
"Delivery Man" is the American version of French-Canadian writer-director Ken Scott's film "Starbuck", based on the original screenplay he co-wrote with fellow Canuck Martin Petit. Unless you've been living under a rock, as Jeanne wrote, you know the premise.
David (Vince Vaughn) spent copious amounts of time donating his sperm at a fertility clinic some 20 years earlier, and now, in present day, learns he is the father of 533 children, 142 of whom seek to learn the identity of their natural father. The group of kids is so intent on their mission that they file a lawsuit.
David, meanwhile, has a girlfriend, Emma (Cobie Smulders) who announces she is pregnant. Get the irony? David has never been a father, now he has the opportunity to be one on many different levels. While deciding how to handle the situation with Emma, David attends a meeting of the 142 children, anonymously, and addresses the crowd with sage advice: even if they don't find their father, they've found each other, and they're all brothers and sisters. (Cue "Applause" sign).
"Delivery Man" is not very funny, although it starts off decently when David is presented with an envelope with the files of all 142 kids. He pulls a few documents one-by-one, and seeks out the appropriate individual. A pro basketball player here, a drug addict daughter there, and just to cover the gamut, a wheelchair-bound boy afflicted with cerebral palsy. This latter episode, in particular, could have been so much more meaningful without being melodramatic, but the script calls for David to be a tacit visitor to the boy rather than having him be truly involved.
Silly moments abound, like David standing and cheering insanely at his basketball progeny's NBA game. SNL favorite Bobby Moynihan is wasted as David's brother and co-worker at dad's meat store.
This film could have been a lot better. Twenty-three-year-old Britt Robertson has a nice turn as the daughter who says she can shake her drug habit without going through rehab, then shows up for her new job at Bloomingdale's, as promised to David. Just like that, she's fine, and no further mention of her drug use.
When David finds his son Josh (Jack Reynor), an aspiring actor who hates his job as a coffee server, David takes over the counter while Josh goes on an audition. Josh returns to find he's been fired, but announces that he landed the part. Suddenly David realizes how much good he can do for his new found family. This is the kind of trite writing that sends Jeanne over the edge --- talk about cringe-inducing.
Vaughn again finds himself in a comedy that doesn't click on all cylinders, and its attempts at poignancy come too little, too late. He's a comedic actor of great talent, and most of his films tend to be defined by his signature frantic, fast-talking personality. Vaughn is more subdued in this role, but he is hampered by the script. At least "Delivery Man" is devoid of stupid bathroom humor, so we're thankful for that.
Opinion: Mild Wait for DVD