Vince Vaughn delivers as father of the year in likable comedy
With “Delivery Man,” Quebecois filmmaker Ken Scott directs and co-writes a remake of his own 2011 French-language film “Starbuck.” A likable enough, high-concept effort with a slightly creepy premise, the film tells the story of a 40-something man with a skeleton in his closet.
David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn) is a ne’er-do-well son of a Polish-American, Brooklyn, N.Y., family. David, who owes loan sharks $80,000, has turned his flat into a marijuana farm. He also drives a truck for his family’s business, Wozniak’s Meats. In his 20s, David made more than 600 donations to a sperm bank, earning him $24,000. The bank unethically used his donations and David now has 533 offspring, with many of them wanting to know who their biological father is, despite the anonymity agreement he made with the bank, and they are going to court. Once the story gets out, it goes viral, becomes a tabloid sensation and fodder for a Jay Leno monologue.
I said, “high concept,” didn’t I?
At the same time, David’s long-suffering girlfriend Emma (Cobie Smulders of TV’s “How I Met Your Mother”) announces she is pregnant and tells David she does not want him involved with raising their child because he is “unreliable” and has “no life.” David resolves to make a life by ignoring the advice of his best friend Brett (Chris Pratt), a father of four and an unlicensed attorney, who advises against procreating. Brett warns David to stay away from the kids.
But David decides to meet several of his 533 offspring without revealing his identity to them. Among the kids are a homeless intellectual (Adam Chanler-Berat), a singleton drug-addict (Britt Robertson), a bartender and aspiring actor (Jack Reynor), a severely disabled, group-home inhabitant (Sebastien Rene, also of “Starbuck”), a handsome gay man (Matthew Daddario) and an African-American spa worker (Jessica Williams).
Usually, Vaughn plays the motor-mouthed wise-guy role. Here, he is a good-for-nothing boy-man who must suddenly man-up to fatherhood and play guardian angel. The actor, who has two children, pulls it off with considerable grace and paternal benevolence. As his best friend, Pratt refuses to be upstaged by Brett’s cute kids and is another plus. Comedies such as this follow a pattern, from high-concept premise to a cast liberally sprinkled with familiar faces from TV.
In addition to Smulders, who is charming, former “SNL” cast member Bobby Moynihan gives the role of David’s concerned brother Aleksy a nice spin. As the mournful-looking Wozniak family patriarch, Polish actor Andrzej Blumenfeld adds another touch of verisimilitude.