“Delivery Man” is one of those films that you forget about when you step outside the theater.
Directed by French-Canadian filmmaker Ken Scott in his first American movie, “Delivery Man” features Vince Vaughn as David Wozniack, an easy going delivery truck driver who made hundreds of anonymous sperm donations to a fertility clinic 20 years ago. Now, he finds out he’s the father of 533 children because of it, and the kids are looking to file a lawsuit that would force him to reveal his identity.
It’s a simple comedic premise, which makes it all the more disappointing to see Vaughn taking it seriously. If you’re looking for the fast-talking, funny Vince Vaughn from films like “Swingers” or “Wedding Crashers,” you won’t find him in this movie.
But that doesn’t mean Vaughn’s performance is poor. In fact, it is sort of neat to see him take a different role, which he manages to play fairly well. It’s a more serious character, though Vaughn does manage to work in some laughs anyway.
That being said, when I walked out of the movie, I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be a comedy or a drama. One minute Vaughn is humorously crashing into people on his bicycle, and the next he’s saving a girl from a drug overdose or spending time with his wheelchair bound son.
It’s jarring and gives the viewer a sense that the film is confused or unsure about itself. Most of the humor can be found in Chris Pratt, whose comedic abilities have been well established in his role as Andy Dwyer in “Parks and Recreation.” Pratt saves the film, as he is amusing any time he’s on screen as Vaughn’s chubby friend trying to prove himself as a lawyer. However, only a few scenes have the entire audience laughing out loud.
This straddling of the line between drama and comedy leads to an overall feeling of schmaltziness. Soupy violins, group hugs, marriage proposals—this movie is a clusterfluff of clichés, and you’ll find yourself rolling your eyes often. Add in a splash of familiar subplots—Wozniack has to pay off a large debt, his father is disappointed in him, his girlfriend is pregnant, etc.—and you get a movie that is nothing special.
Speaking of the pregnant girlfriend, that’s another major problem of the film. Cobie Smulders plays Emma, the mother-to-be. Smulders is well known for her role as Robin on “How I Met Your Mother,” but you won’t find any of her comedic prowess here. She’s entirely lifeless on screen as a bland and forgettable supporting character, and any chemistry that is supposed to be between her and Vaughn’s character is practically non-existent.
You’ll walk away from “Delivery Man” with a general feeling of ambivalence toward it. If you’re bored and have $20 to spend, give it a try. But you might be just as well off saving your money.