This is really interesting. In 2011, director Ken Scott co-wrote and directed a movie called Starbuck that was released in New Zealand I believe and was in French, though available in captions. He then, just a few years later, reshot the movie almost exactly the same with an American cast. Some people don’t understand that it’s the same guy, so they jump on the bandwagon of “This movie already exists, it’s called Starbuck!” but I think it’s interesting that it’s the same director and writer. Gives it a little legitimacy.
The basic gist is that Dave Wozniak (Vince Vaughn) donated to a sperm bank quite often about 20 years ago and now has found out that he’s fathered 533 children. He tries to keep this a secret from his girlfriend (Cobie Smulders) but he lets his best friend and lawyer (Chris Pratt) into the scenario. Wozniak can’t help but open a file of profiles of these children and finds himself seeking them out and taking on a guardian angel role in their lives.
Vince Vaughn is spectacular here and he really tones down the Vince Vaughn-ness. He’s not as charming as usual, as his character isn’t that way. His character is a rundown 40-something that just can’t get anything right. And Vaughn nails it. The movie goes to some surprisingly deep places and Vaughn excels in these quieter moments.
I can’t speak about Starbuck, but Delivery Man impressed me with the depth of its writing. I assumed this would be a pretty straightforward and predictable comedy but it tackles some issues of serious importance and does so in a way that gives them weight in this story. Yes, the movie is funny, but in these moments, it treats these topics with the weight they deserve.
Chris Pratt is also pretty outstanding as the best friend and lawyer Brett. Pratt actually put on 60 pounds for this role, as he had lost a lot of weight while shooting Moneyball and Zero Dark Thirty. I’m glad they gave Pratt more to do in this movie than the traditional best friend role, as he’s becoming a much more marketable actor.
Now even though the story may be predictable, the ride to the end is still enjoyable. I laughed, I cried (a few times), and when the credits started rolling, I had a huge smile on my face. This is a fun and inspiring movie from beginning to end.
What doesn’t work?
The only two small criticisms would be that 1.) the logistics don’t really make sense all the time and 2.) the story is incredibly predictable. But that’s okay. Suspend your disbelief and enjoy the ride.
It’s a shame that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire released this weekend as well, because not as many people will see Delivery Man as it really deserves. It’s a great film for all audiences and both manages to provide huge laughs and then also really intense and deep moments; a balance not many films achieve. Is this a “Should I see this movies in theaters?” scenario? No, you can wait to rent, but keep Delivery Man on your radar.