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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

“Delivery Man” an unlikely feel-good film

Published: December 6, 2013
Section: Arts, Etc.

“Delivery Man” is unlike most Vince Vaughn movies. Vaughn is known for playing the raunchy, underachieving, unlikable lead; his film credits include “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story,” “Wedding Crashers” and “The Break-Up.”

In “Delivery Man,” Vaughn still acts as the character who doesn’t live up to his potential; he works as a meat truck delivery van driver for his father and grows weed in his basement. But “Delivery Man” is a story of deliverance, and as the film goes on, Vaughn transforms from a man without a life to one desperate to make good in the world. And while the film has far too many logical flaws, if the audience is willing to suspend their disbelief for 104 minutes, “Delivery Man” can actually become a feel-good, enjoyable movie.

“Delivery Man” is a remake of a French-Canadian film released in 2011, called “Starbuck.” In both movies, the main character David Wozniak (here played by Vaughn) finds out that he has fathered 533 children after a sperm bank overused his “donations.” Before this major discovery, Wozniak is pretty happy driving his meat truck very poorly and hanging out with his friend Brett (Chris Pratt). Wozniak’s girlfriend Emma (Cobie Smulders) is pregnant but isn’t sure she should let Wozniak help her with the child because he usually just messes everything up. But after learning of his hundreds of children because of a lawsuit (they all want to know their biological father), Wozniak becomes his children’s guardian angel. He meets many of them anonymously, helping them land acting jobs and make new friends. He visits one of his sons in a resident care facility. As the lawsuit drags on, Wozniak struggles with whether or not he should come clean to his children. In the process, he becomes a better man.

Vaughn, who actually is 43, is a believably goofy and energetic dad. He is enjoyable to watch onscreen because he oozes apologetic energy, and trying to do right by 533 children and a baby on the way is no easy task. But perhaps the best actor in the film is Pratt, known for his role on “Parks and Recreation.” Pratt plays an out-of-work lawyer turned stay-at-home dad who is constantly exhausted by his four children. He delivers lines hilariously; from repeatedly telling his daughter to stop slapping him in a weary voice to admitting his wife is cheating on him with a mere shrug. Pratt’s character gets his shining moment when he is able to be Wozniak’s lawyer for the sperm donor case, and his nervousness over the big trial is both adorable and realistic. While Vaughn might be the feel-good part of the movie, Pratt provides most of the hilarity.

The problem with “Delivery Man” is that it doesn’t really make sense. First off, the fact that a sperm bank would overuse one man’s sperm so much that it could create 533 children is a stretch. The movie claims it is because his sperm is of “high quality.” But why would that many families want Wozniak’s sperm? He didn’t go to college. Vaughn is not even that attractive. It doesn’t add up logically, much less legally. Another flaw is that all of Wozniak’s 533 children are these great kids that anyone would love to hang out with. Sure, one is addicted to heroin, but she gets over her addiction (without the help of rehab). There are a couple non-attractive kids and one who is in a resident care facility due to special needs, but 99 percent of Vaughn’s children are beautiful, responsible citizens. And while this contributes to the aura of happiness that surrounds the film—the audience falls in love with each and every child—it doesn’t really make sense. Out of 533 children, it is not statistically possible that every one of them would be perfect.

Nonetheless, if you’re out looking for a film that will leave you smiling and one that may make you reinterpret the way you think of Vince Vaughn, “Delivery Man” is the movie to see.