Delivery Man Movie Review
It didn’t quite NOT deliver.
Have you ever met a person of the gender of your sexual interest and are totally attracted to in spite of the fact that all of your previous experience, logic, and just common sense should in no way be into? I’m not just talking about good girls wanting bad boys (you girls can all blame your fathers for that) but rather someone who is so far out of your normal scope of attraction that you find yourself questioning your base foundations?
My best friend and I have a term for this phenomenon and that is “strangely attractive”, as in “In spite of the fact that I want to hate that girl with the burning passion of 10,000 suns I find her strangely attractive.” Vince Vaughn is strangely attractive as an actor. The lists of reasons why I should hate him and his movies is more than extensive, but for some bizarre reason I find his films appealing and entertaining. It is one of the great movie conundrums, like why do Adam Sandler movies make money, where the f&$% did midichlorians come from, or why did the nerd community not come together and declare a fatwa on Joel Schumacher after Batman and Robin?
Unfortunately Vince Vaughn’s bizarre, inexplicable appeal was not enough to carry this film all the way through. This film looks like one that started with a seed of brilliance and then died on the operating table. The basic idea is really good: average Joe (haw!) finds out that through a mix up at a fertility clinic he is the biological father of hundreds of kids. At that point, however, it seems like the writers just sat back and assumed comedy would spontaneously manifest itself through the will of the human gestalt consciousness. There are a few good set pieces but once we get through the comedy of Vince freaking out discovering his revelation the whole thing turns into a mediocre heart warmer and all the best comedic lines get handed off to the lawyer buddy.
However, like I said in the sub title the movie isn’t horrible. It has it’s moments and you will laugh upon occasion. What was horrible, however, was the timing of this release. I don’t know who at DreamWorks thought going toe to toe with the Hunger Games was a good idea, but that person should not only be fired but frozen in carbonite for a few hundred years in hopes that a cure will have been found for whatever genetic brain defect he or she suffers from rather than risk passing it on to the next generation. Either that or just shoot them into space. Trying to compete with a juggernaut like Catching Fire is like a class of baby seals taking a field trip to the International Club and Cudgel Convention (this year located in Garden City, Kansas).
The movie begins with down and out loser David (no irony there. Vince Vaughn-the Internship, Dodgeball, Wedding Crashers) working as a meat delivery guy for his fathers company with his two brothers. His father Mikolaj (Andrezej Blumenfeld-the Pianist, Little Rose, Where Eskimos Live) and brothers (Simon Delaney-This Must Be the Place, Roy, Amazing Grace and Bobby Moynihan-the Invention of Lying, Monsters University, the Brass Teapot) love him but think of him as a complete loser. In a direct slap in the face to my life this penniless loser with no education and nothing going on has the hottest girlfriend on the planet Emma (Colby Smolders-How I Met Your Mother, the Avengers, Safe Haven) and a best friend Brett who is a lawyer beset by being a single dad with four toddler kids (Chris Pratt-Parks and Rec, Zero Dark Thirty, Movie 43. Li’l Sebastian image comes from the TV Show T Shirt catetory).
Emma tells David that she is pregnant but doesn’t want him involved since he is a flaky loser. David goes home and is confronted by an attorney for the fertility clinic he donated to over 600 times. The attorney tells him that due to a massive error at the clinic he is now the biological father of 533 children, a lot of whom are suing to find out who he is. There is a nice collection of David freaking out and coming to grips with his fatherhood scenes while Brett volunteers to handle his case for him. The kids give him a file of profiles of the assorted kids and when he gets home he pulls one out and looks at it.
Turns out the first kid is a professional basketball player. David goes to see a game and gets pumped up. He starts randomly pulling out profiles and visiting each kid anonymously. They range from successful to almost homeless. He tried to help them when he can and feels a kinship with each one. Meanwhile he owes $80K to some loan shark for some reason and is in danger of getting killed, and he is trying to prove to Emma that he is worthy of being his newest kids father.
Once the big reveal is done and he falls into the routine of visiting kids the story kind of peters off. The funny lines get shifted over to his friend Brett and the film tries to end up a feel good romantic comedy with mixed results. In truth this film felt more like a TV show pilot than a feature film, and that TV show is My Name is Earl. You know, Earl has an epiphany and has to visit and make amends with all he ever wronged? This could have been a really good show but as a movie the assumption was that we would see the funny in the feel good and the feel good in the comedy. Tonal failure IMO. Started as a comedy and tried to end as an After School Special about the importance of family.
Vince Vaughn was entertaining for no reason I can put my finger on. One star. Colby Smulders rocks my world, although at some point in her career I would appreciate her showing some skin that isn’t exclusively on her hands, neck, or face. One star. Many of the individual set pieces were funny, and would have been great on a one hour TV show. One star. The father and brothers were all pretty good. One star. Some of the individual children were entertaining, especially Viggo. One star. In general not a waste of my time. One star. Total: six stars.
The black hole:
No real tone. Comedy or feel good? At times it even got almost grim and gritty. One black hole. The movie ended with all the power of a balloon with a slow leak finally settling on the ground. Great concept, but the story needed to really be fleshed out. One black hole. More TV pilot than movie. One black hole. Total: three black holes.
A grand total of three stars, a very mediocre score for a fairly mediocre movie. Even if this film had not tried to go against the biggest movie powerhouse of the year odds are it would have disappointed in the box office. You can’t stop a flood with a sugar filled sandbag. Definitely worth killing an evening at home one night on NetFlix, but I doubt it will leave a lasting mark. Date movie? Sure, it’s heartwarming and will put baby making in your date’s mind. On the other hand this could lead into one of those horrible girl questions for which there is no good answer, such as “Would (or have) you ever donate(d) to a sperm bank?” “Do you masturbate and if so how often (and to what)?” Bathroom break? Any of the individual kid vignettes are not really important in and of themselves, so pick one and miss it with impunity. The best one to miss would be the drunk fat guy trying to get into the cab.
Thanks for reading. I saw Homefront about and hour ago and will review it tomorrow morning. Join the vast majority of humanity and my readers by specifically NOT following me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu. No one really wants to be an original I guess. Just like when I ask girls out on dates. If you have a comment on this film or my review leave it here. If you have an off topic question or suggestion feel free to email me at email@example.com. Have a great Thanksgiving.