Review – Delivery Man

Poster for 2014 comedy Delivery Man

Genre: Comedy 
Certificate: 12
UK Release Date: 10th January 2014
Runtime: 104 minutes
Director: Ken Scott
Writer: Ken Scott
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt, Cobie Smulders
Synopsis: A slacker must deal with parenthood when his girlfriend announces she is pregnant and he discovers that, thanks to a sperm donation clinic, he has fathered more than 500 kids.

 

 

It’s the year’s first Vince Vaughn movie! And despite the sigh that sentence should’ve produced in any right-thinking moviegoer, it’s important to stress that Delivery Man is a relatively good Vince Vaughn movie. Unfortunately, that’s the very definition of damning with faint praise.

David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn) is sleepwalking through life as an unreliable slacker when his girlfriend Emma (Cobie Smulders) surprises him with the news that she is pregnant. He then returns home to find a lawyer who represents a sperm clinic to which he used to donate.

Due to an error on their part, he is the biological father of over 500 children. David and his lawyer friend (Chris Pratt) must fight to retain his anonymity as he uses the details of his children to carry out a series of random acts of kindness.

| "When you’re looking out for these kids, will you be wearing some kind of cape?"

Delivery Man is a complete nothing of a film. Adapted from the writer-director’s own French-Canadian film Starbuck, it ambles along through its vaguely life-affirming tale, stumbling on every attempt at a joke. There are giggles to be had, but there’s nothing that matches the heights of Vince Vaughn’s performances in Dodgeball or the first Anchorman movie.

Vaughn tries his best to be likeable in Delivery Man – a film that is supposed to mark his move towards more mature cinematic choices. But years of appearing in sub-par slacker fare have allowed him to ease into a comfort zone of mediocrity. Every flash of genuine heart that his performance threatens to show is immediately hidden under the reassuring blanket of his well-honed, but seldom entertaining, buffoon persona.

Chris Pratt, soon set to headline Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, fares better and steals many of the best comedic moments of Delivery Man. He is certainly given more from the script than Cobie Smulders, who is woefully underused as Vaughn’s unbelievably tolerant girlfriend.

| "Everyone has a purpose in life. I guess I just haven’t found mine yet."

The main problem is that Delivery Man doesn’t work as either a drama or a comedy. It doesn’t have the strength of its convictions in either arena and so often feels quite bland. For whole sections of its runtime, nothing seems to happen, and when it kicks up a gear for the third act, it still remains a thoroughly disappointing affair.

 

Pop or Poop?

Rating: Poop!

It’s unclear whether Delivery Man is the start of a new phase in Vince Vaughn’s career. However, what is clear is that the film is a seldom funny, often boring remake that just didn’t need to be made.

Cobie Smulders is wasted in a promising supporting turn and future space superhero Chris Pratt steals any of the laughs that do exist in this disappointing dramedy that lacks heart or humour.

 

Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.

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