Vince Vaughn stars as a man who learns he's the father of 532 teenagers in the new comedy Delivery Man! Is it worth checking out? 411's Jeffrey Harris checks in with his full review!
Directed By: Ken Scott Written By: Ken Scott and Martin Petit Runtime: 104 minutes MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
David Wozniak - Vince Vaughn Brett - Chris Pratt Emma - Cobie Smulders Mikolaj Wozniak - Andrzej Blumenfeld Victor Wozniak - Simon Delaney Aleksy Wozniak - Bobby Moynihan Viggo - Adam Chanler-Berat Kristen - Britt Robertson
Delivery Man surprises in that it’s not your typical, Vince Vaughn slapstick comedy, despite the odd, contrived premise. The movie is more so of the “dramedy” variety and around the midpoint tries to involve a heartwarming family story. The results are mixed to say the least, but Vaughn does a decent job of bucking certain expectations.
The story follows that of the down-on-his-luck deli meat truck driver, David Wozniak (Vaughn). The middle-aged Wozniak’s life has gotten to a low-point. He’s gone into tremendous debt by starting a hydroponic pot garden in his apartment. He knocked up his police officer girlfriend Emma (Smulders), who is none too pleased with his slacking behavior. But at the realization of becoming a father, Wozniak believes such an event could give his life the structure and order it needs. However, that soon is magnified by about 500 fold. He’s informed by the legal representation of a fertility clinic that his donations to a sperm clinic 20 years earlier led to the birth of 533 kids. And now well, some 140 or so of those kids are suing the fertility clinic to discover the identity of David. Despite being warned against doing so by his friend and lawyer Brett (Pratt), Wozniak opts to make some anonymous connections to his biological children and see if he can help them in some way.
The premise of this story seems flimsy at best. The plot just seems to throw in more and more contrivances as the story progresses. For starters, how was consortium even formed of one hundred children of the same donor? If a sperm clinic is operating under an anonymity clause, how would the children, now aged 19, even be able to figure out they all have the same father? Another issue is their extreme desperation to simply find Wozniak, or “Starbuck” as he’s nicknamed. Apparently simply not knowing Wozniak is destroying their lives and hampering their identity.
It’s weird because it’s likely many of these children probably had parents who raised and took care of them. And while one can understand wanting to find your birth or biological parents and knowing where you really came from, the way this is explored here never quite makes any sense. Second, some of these kids are destitute and do not look like they can afford a lawsuit or even take part in one. One of the kids in the consortium is handicapped, special needs, and requires 24/7 care. Again it makes no sense how his caretakers know he’s Wozniak’s child and joined his siblings in a lawsuit. It’s a leap in logic made more as an excuse to showcase Vaughn having some heartstring pulling sequences where he meets and interacts with his handicapped son. If the fertility clinic revealed to the children that they are all the product of the same father, isn’t that already a violation of a binding legal agreement that Wozniak signed?
In terms of performances, Vaughn does good work here. It’s a more subdued version of Vaughn than what we’ve typically seen from his comedies over the past 10 years since Old School basically revived his career as a comedian. There was an amusing scene that resembles a type of yelling and shouting argument scene we are prone to see in Vaughn’s films, but since the scene takes place in a hospital after a big emotional moment, Vaughn is forced to whisper really loudly.
Pratt himself also puts in an entertaining performance as Wozniak’s single father of four, underachieving lawyer Brett. His scenes with Vaughn are generally the funniest and most entertaining ones in the film, and really the funniest lines and moments go to Pratt rather than Vaughn.
Besides all that, there are some decent romantic and dramatic moments between Wozniak and Emma and also his working class family. The subplot involving Wozniak’s debts is played very seriously and not played up for laughs through most of the film. However, those are at times followed by bizarre sequences where Wozniak goes to a weird organized type of camp made up of his children where they are frolicking around and playing outdoors. It was a strange sequence that like much of the premise defies logic and makes one wonder why such an event is taking place.
The 411: Delivery Man is far from a great film or Vince Vaughn's best work, but it is decently watchable and probably better-viewed as a weekend matinee. Vaughn does decent job of branching out and doing some things different than his typical style here, which is admirable but it still doesn't achieve exceptional results. The contrivances of the plot are really hard to overlook, but if you can do that, you will likely have a good time.