Movie review: Delivery Man - fatherhood, served

Delivery Man provides comic relief but lacks the much-needed sophistication.

Nida Ameen January 05, 2014
Delivery Man provides comic relief but lacks the much-needed sophistication.

Viewers who are expecting to watch a typical, obnoxious, motor-mouthed Vince Vaughn movie are in for a disappointment. Delivery Man is not an average American comedy that will make you go hysterical over a plot that lacks soul. Rather, it celebrates the warmth and unpredictability of parenthood by approaching several significant social issues like drug abuse with a logical dose of satire.

Based on the French-Canadian comical drama Starbuck, the film is about an apathetic underachiever David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn) who drives his family’s meat delivery truck for a living. And even that seems more of a burden considering his diminutive abilities. Like any other lazy dreamer, David too keeps trying his hands at making some quick easy money — his current scheme involves growing marijuana at home. Clearly, his family has no hopes attached and his newly pregnant girlfriend also decides to give up on him.

To make matters worse, David hits his lowest ebb when an unprecedented visit from a lawyer unravels one of the most shocking truths of his life so far — David has fathered 533 children in total. In an attempt to earn some cash, David had donated his sperm around a dozen times 20 years ago, and an administrative fluke led to a reproduction of this magnitude. Now, nearly 142 of his children have filed a lawsuit against him demanding to know his real identity.

From there on, the film takes a slight plunge the emotional terrain as David struggles with the dilemma of revealing his identity while trying to make way into each of his kids’ lives and becoming their benefactor. Director Ken Scott, who also headed the original French version, knows exactly how to play with the audience’s emotions and where to tickle the funny bone. By positioning the idea that a man can father an array of personalities, Scott celebrates diversity and the satisfaction one receives from the mere act of parenting.

Vaughn unveils his softer side and to some extent does justice to his character. The reason why he manages it only to a certain extent is because he appears to lack emotional desperation. While his comic timing is perfect, he fails to exhibit the right amount of impulsiveness during emotional scenes. Cobie Smulders, as Vaughn’s disgruntled girlfriend Emma, does not have much of a part to play, and hence, has no scope to show her acting abilities. Each of the other supporting characters, especially the children, are genuinely refreshing.

The star of the film is surprisingly actor Chris Patt who plays Vaughn’s best friend and lawyer. His hilarious interpretation of a frustrated father and his relatively degrading comments to David over his eccentricity are spot on. Without a doubt, Delivery Man is Patt’s funniest performance to date.

With minimal flaws and a few high points, the adaptation is not as great as the original foreign version, but it also doesn’t fall completely on its face. If you enjoyed films like The Hangover series, then Delivery Man is certainly not your cup of tea. However, if you appreciate a light-hearted yet exaggerated storyline, then this heartfelt celebratory film is definitely a safe bet.

Rating: 3-star

Tickle my fancy 

Starbuck (2011)

If you fancy foreign language films, then the original French version of Delivery Man titled Starbuck will be a best bet in terms of an enjoyable and heart-warming comic drama. The Canadian comedy about a perpetual dawdler David Wozniak and his unexpected fatherhood has been declared far more stimulating than its American counterpart.

Admission (2013)

A light-hearted comedy/drama about a Princeton admission officer struggling with the dilemma of choosing a candidate who might just be her own child who she gave up for adoption years ago. Quirky Tina Fey reveals her serious side and carries off the emotional character with ease.

We’re The Millers (2013)

A story of four different people, who are struggling to make ends meet and have pretty much failed at everything in life, end up together as a pretentious family to earn some quick cash. Although rated R for strong language, the star cast takes you on an outstandingly hilarious rollercoaster ride. 

Nida Ameen is a sub-editor for the Life & Style desk at The Express Tribune. She tweets @ameennida

Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, January 5th, 2015.


shaan | 7 years ago | Reply

good job nida ameen.. i enjoyed the film but thats cuz im a vince vaughn fan!

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