Movie Reviews

‘Delivery Man’ fails to deliver

By Anjali RaguramanMovies - 01 January 2014 12:00 AM

‘Delivery Man’ fails to deliver

Movie details | Photo gallery Buy tickets

Rating: 1.5 / 5 

Vince Vaughn plays Dave Wozniak, a down-and-out, 40-something, meat delivery guy at his father’s shop in New York.

He hasn’t made much of his life, and is heavily in debt with creditors breathing down his neck. He has ventured into hydroponics, growing marijuana in his apartment to make a quick buck.

In a twist of fate, he finds out that he fathered more than 500 children through sperm donations he made at a fertility clinic more than 20 years ago under the pseudonym "Starbuck".

When 142 of them file a lawsuit to demand that their biological father identifies himself, he finds himself in the middle of a confidentiality dispute and has to decide if he wants to reveal himself.

If that wasn’t enough, he then learns that his on-and-off girlfriend Emma (Coby Smulders from TV sitcom 'How I Met Your Mother') is pregnant with his child. But she doesn’t think he is dad material and writes him off.

It’s enough of a kickstart for Dave to turn his life around, and become a grown-up. 

THE GUARDIAN ANGEL… NOT REALLY

His friend and lawyer Brett (Chris Pratt, from TV series ‘Parks & Recreation') offers help, but against his advice, Dave tracks down his children all over New York, and tries to assimilate himself into their lives, though he keeps his identity secret. 

Dave (far right) meets his offspring without them knowing who is, while they lobby to find out the identity of their biological father

LEAD ACTORS A LET-DOWN

While the film tries to make up some heartfelt moments to endear you to Dave, it’s impossible to take him seriously. His sudden paternal instincts are unconvincing and farfetched.

Vaughn never quite wins you over, and he barely shines as an actor. He just seems to be plodding through the paces and throwing in slapstick bits for the sake of it. He is much more likable as the baddie in films such as ‘Anchorman’, or in a full-on comedy such as ‘Wedding Crashers’.

Smulders as his love interest is dull and forgettable. She has no chemistry with Vaughn at all. 

It is the supporting characters, Dave's children, who are slightly less drab. The young cast of relative newcomers, Britt Robertson as the recovering drug addict, Jack Reynor as the aspiring actor and Adam Chanlet-Berat as the wide-eyed philosopher, are all promising.

The real saving grace is Pratt as an overweight father of four, who has rediscovered his passion for the law and represents Dave in court. His deadpan delivery and offbeat comic timing remind you of his lovable character Andy on ‘Parks & Recreation’.

ONE OF THE POORER REMAKES 

There have been multiple recent remakes of this movie that is based on French-Canadian Ken Scott’s ‘Starbuck’ in 2011, First, a Bollywood version called ‘Vicky Donor’ (which proved to be one of the most successful Indian films in 2012), ‘Fonzy’, the French version, and now ‘Delivery Man’, the lacklustre Hollywood cousin.

The other versions, in comparison, handle the premise of an extremely fertile sperm donor with gutsy humour. The Bollywood version, especially, was a riot of laughs and gags from start to finish. The Hollywood version doesn’t quite take it as far, and remains monotonous. 

'Delivery Man' opens in cinemas 1 January 2014