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Film review: DELIVERY MAN, from Built For Speed

With Delivery Man, Vince Vaughan takes his irresponsible slob persona into slightly more serious territory.  He plays Dave Wozniak, a meat delivery driver with his family’s butcher shop who lives in a perpetual adolescence. Unable to commit to his pregnant girlfriend, disinterested in his job and heavily in debt to gangsters, his life seems to be disappearing down the s-bend.  Things take a bizarre turn when he discovers that, as a result of numerous sperm donations he made decades ago, he is now the biological father of 533 adult children.  Intrigued by the path the kids’ lives have taken but hesitant to reveal himself as their biological father, he tentatively inveigles himself into their lives becoming  a kind of guardian angel even saving one of his offspring from a heroin overdose.

This film could have taken this strange concept in any number of unusual and intriguing directions but director Ken Scott, who also co-wrote, instead opts for an efficient but predictable serio-comic rites-of-passage tale. 

Vince Vaughan once again plays Vince Vaughan the amiable, if slightly arrogant schlub.  Fortunately, though, he’s a little less manic than usual in this film. He reminds us that he can play more introspective and serious characters and as he confronts the magnitude of the situation and learns about the lives of his previously unknown offspring, he actually generates flickers of emotion.  The film briefly allows him to deliver some of his patented crazy guy comedy as he makes a clumsy and misguided attempt to help out each of his previously unknown progeny including spontaneously filling in at an insanely busy café for an aspiring actor who has an audition.  For the most part, though, Vaughan plays a more serious character than we normally see from him.  Consequently, those who get off on his wise-cracking style of comedy may feel disappointed.

This is the Vince Vaughan show so the supporting cast are shunted into the background and as a result are mostly forgettable.  The film tries to pass off his endlessly complaining, self-loathing lawyer buddy Brett ( Parks and Recreation’s Chris Pratt), as a comic foil but he is never as funny as he was clearly meant to be.  Cobie Smulders also has a thankless role as Dave’s long- suffering girlfriend.

A novel idea, a few shreds of amusement and Vaughan’s lovable-lug personality keep this film afloat but it’s hardly inspired as either comedy or drama.

Nick’s rating: Two and a half stars.

Genre: Comedy/ drama

Classification: M.

Director(s): Ken Scott.

Release date: 5th Dec 2013

Running time: 105 mins.

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