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DELIVERY MAN (review)

delivery_manDELIVERY MAN
Written and Directed by Ken Scott

Starring Vince Vaughn, Cobie Smulders and Chris Pratt

In 2011, French-Canadian director, Ken Scott, stole the hearts of filmgoers with his film STARBUCK, which was the runner-up for the Toronto International Film Festival’s coveted People’s Choice Award. This is not surprising given how heartwarming, original and extremely funny STARBUCK is. Now, two years later, Scott returns with DELIVERY MAN, which is essentially a shot-for-shot English language remake of STARBUCK. DELIVERY MAN is also funny and heartwarming, but original? Not exactly.

David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn) is an ambitionless delivery man for his father’s butcher shop. When his girlfriend, Emma (Cobie Smulders), gets pregnant, she worries that David is not yet ready to be a father. Little does she know though, David is already a father, many times over. Yes, David is the father of 533 children, 142 of which are suing a fertility clinic to find out the identity of their father. It’s never really explained how donating sperm for a couple years over two decades ago can actually lead to fathering that many children, but I guess that’s not really the point. After his lawyer/best friend, Brett (Chris Pratt), gives him a folder containing information on 142 of his children, David sets off to find them and improve each of their lives in some way as a means to give some meaning to his own aimless existence.

DELIVERY MAN

It is difficult to evaluate DELIVERY MAN as a standalone film. Anyone who has seen STARBUCK may be disappointed with the fact that this film adds nothing new to the story, but those who have not seen it will surely be pleased. Though he could never outdo Patrick Huard (the original David Wozniak), Vaughn gives a great performance in the film, his best in many years. For the past few years, Vaughn has been playing rather obnoxious roles in films such as THE INTERNSHIP and THE DILEMMA. In DELIVERY MAN, Vaughan is finally given a character to work with that audiences will find easy to connect and sympathize with. Vaughn cannot take all the credit for this though; Scott’s screenplay works just as well in English as it does in French, David being an extremely likeable and well-written character to begin with. The rest of the cast is strong, with exceptional performances from the young actors playing David’s children. The only weak link in the cast is Smulders who, like usual, is pretty awful in the film. Smulders fails to show any sign of honest emotion, but luckily her screen time is pretty short.

vince-vaughn-delivery-man

While often very funny, the film does have some dreary moments. One, which feels very out of place, features David meeting one of his daughters (Britt Robertson) who overdoses on heroin in his presence. Another scene, one of my favourites from the original, shows David going to see one of his sons and finding out that he is severely handicapped. This scene obviously tries to bring a couple tears with a sappy bit of score, but fortunately doesn’t overdo it too much.

Those who have seen STARBUCK may be hesitant to see DELIVERY MAN, and rightfully so, because there is almost no difference between the two. The film is essentially made to show this great story to a non-subtitle reading audience, and while I think the film is strong, it never distinguishes itself enough to leave its own distinctive mark. All the same, the story remains intact and therefore remains worthy.

3_5

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