Susan Granger's review of 'Delivery Man'
Published 12:33 pm, Saturday, November 23, 2013
Looking for light comedy? With so many "significant" films opening, it's refreshing to find one that simply offers frothy, feel-good fun.
Irresponsible, unreliable and $80,000 in debt, aimless David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn) can't seem to get his life in order, much to the dismay of his Polish father (Andrzej Blumfeld), butcher brother (Bobby Moynihan) and longtime girlfriend Emma (Cobie Smulders), a New York cop who tells him she's pregnant. Excited that he's about to be a father, he confides in his buddy/lawyer Brett (Chris Pratt), a beleaguered father of four, who cautions him that parenthood is not going to be easy.
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Simultaneously, David discovers that there's been a disastrous error at the defunct fertility clinic where he frequently donated sperm-for-cash 20 years ago. Despite his having signed an iron-clad anonymity/confidentiality agreement, the 533 offspring he sired under the pseudonym Starbuck are now demanding to know who their biological father is. Curious about the 142 petitioners in this class-action lawsuit, David surreptitiously tracks down some of the individual plaintiffs -- his now-grown children -- in hopes of becoming, if not their father, perhaps their "guardian angel." They include a professional basketball player, wannabe actor, street-singer, drug addict (Britt Robertson), YMCA lifeguard, vegan hipster (Adam Chaner-Berat) and mute, special needs youngster (Sebastian Rene) who is institutionalized and confined to a wheelchair. Meanwhile, the lawsuit's gone viral, publicly denouncing Starbuck/David as a chronic masturbator.
Based on a French/Canadian film "Starbuck," it's adapted by Martin Petit and director Ken Scott, who change the locale from Montreal, Quebec, to Brooklyn, New York, where David drives the Wozniak & Sons meat-delivery truck, and they've wisely added Chris Pratt's engagingly goofy supporting role. While the crazy deception is, admittedly, predictable and contrived, it's also chock full of comedic opportunity and heartfelt emotional involvement, which Vaughn ("The Break-Up," "Swingers," "The Internship") plays to the hilt, utilizing every bit of his innocuous slacker charm.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Delivery Man" is an amusing, compassionate 6, celebrating an unconventional concept of family.