It’s a Vince Vaughn movie and not one Wilson brother is anywhere in sight. Does that give you hope or dread?
Vaughn stars as David – a guy whose life hasn’t quite panned out. He is the irresponsible delivery truck driver for his family’s pork store, owes a ton of money to some shady types, and, now, his girlfriend, Emma (Cobie Smulders), is pregnant with his kid and she isn’t convinced David is ready to be a good father. She is convinced of this because it is true.
Just when you can’t imagine life can get any more complicated for the dude, it turns out about 20 years ago he donated sperm to a fertility clinic when he needed some cash, and, through a mistake, his “donations” led to 533 children. Over 100 of them have banded together and filed a class action law suit to discover David’s identity.
Can David stay anonymous?
Does he want to?
Delivery Man is a movie with some nice, poignant moments, but that does not lead to a stunning, memorable experience. Instead, it’s a bland film that seems to just about be on the brink of doing something great, but missing the mark.
Delivery Man’s biggest problem is jarring tone issues. It can be a kind of wacky comedy at times, but then writer/director Ken Scott pushes some made-for-crying moments where David learns a heartbreaking truth about one of the kids, which leads directly into another bad joke. More gradualness is needed and more subtle transition from one to the other would show a better mastery of the movie.
Then, we have the narrative issues. Scott wants to show the many sides to David’s personality to prove he is more complex and likable underneath his outward slovenliness and immaturity, but we get tastes of each facet, instead of real meat.
Scott is trying to establish the relationship with the girlfriend (who is barely in the movie), the relationships building with the many different children (so many we have to have a few montages to save time and money), the relationship with his buddy and lawyer, Brett (Chris Pine) (who also has his own issues), and the relationship David has with his family (who all act as if they are on parole and have to be too careful with their words and acting).
It’s all important, but none of it that well developed as we speed from one to the other to the other like a fat guy at a Chinese buffet. We should be savoring some of this, instead of trying to cram it all in.
Vaughn does what he can to make Delivery Man work, and many will be surprised by the depth he can display when he’s not trying to spit out a thousand words a manic minute (which I love to see, but it would not work for this movie). The script doesn’t give Vaughn many chances to show the evolution of David, but he picks moments to show growth and a new attitude, without enough establishment of his less responsible side.
Plus, you will really love Vaughn as David goes on a journey acting as an anonymous guardian angel for each of the kids he meets without revealing his true identity. It would make for a great TV series as each week he goes from troubled situation to troubled situation much like classics series Quantum Leap or Highway to Heaven, but Scott can’t quite give us more because he is still trying to cram in all of the other stuff.
Delivery Man is middle of the road, but I think CBS might be calling to set up that TV series. Every show on the network can’t be an NCIS spin off.
Delivery Man is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual content, some drug material, brief violence and language