Review: Delivery Man
A hard luck, mostly unambitious, and money-owing meat delivery man David Wozniak discovers that a period of massive sperm donations has made him the father of 533 children. When 142 of them want to know his identify, filing a lawsuit to force him forward, Wozniak can’t help resist finding out who they are and trying to become a part of their lives.
Vince Vaughn plays David, who is basically a similar loud, heart-of-gold Vaughn character we’ve seen often before. Canadian Cobie Smulders is earnest, while Chris Pratt provides most of the laughs.
An allegorical and offbeat tale is not handled as such, and instead of being playfully weird and morally curious, Delivery Man is emotionally manipulative and cookie-cutter formulaic. If the story sounds like a familiar one, a tall tale that finds a middle-aged man child suddenly informed that he has fathered hundreds of kids from his donations to a sperm bank, it’s because it was told not two years ago.
Ken Scott writes and directs this lackluster Vince Vaughn vehicle, having done the same two years ago for the French Canadian film Starbuck. It is the same story, adapted with a different leading man, a different title, and little inspiration.
When Vaughn doesn’t play a loud, crazed partier, he opts for the character he portrays here, an excitable everyman who is the victim of comedic bad luck, is ever unreliable and childish, and yet is full of warmth and love.
So David Wozniak is supposed to be you likeable and conflicted character, but his low standards paired with his terrific ability to incur debt and avoid responsibility and adulthood is not especially winning.
That’s to be expected, however, as this type of affable would-be adult is all too common. What’s frustrating, though, and even offensive at times, is the carefree way the film treats what would be troubling, complex, and exhausting issues. Wozniak is first informed of his parentage not out of altruism, but because 142 of the kids want to know who he is, and as it turns out, each of them has a specific yet stereotypical problem.
One has a drug problem, the other is a struggling actor, another is a struggling musician, and then there is one, in the most transparent attempt to tug at heartstrings, is resigned to a wheel chair and cannot talk. In an attempt to feel better about himself, Wozniak involves himself in their lives without revealing his true identity, much to the dismay of his haggard lawyer Brett, an exhausted father of four.
Every issue is presented with soft edges, meant to elate the heart and evoke tears of joy. While Wozniak seeks to understand his children, he is also incurring the wrath of the brutes he owes money too, while also trying to be there for his suddenly pregnant girlfriend. For most people, a confluence of such situations would be stressful and significant; for Wozniak, it’s time to have fun and embrace the convenience of filmmaking.
Delivery Man simplistic and forgettable, and even frustrating, considering the odd nature of a story that should be told with more quirk and darkness.
Should You See It?
Just watch the trailer a couple times, and I’m sure you can piece it all together.