Director: Ken Scott; Writer: Ken Scott; Starring: Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt, Cobie Smulders, Britt Robertson, Jack Reynor, Adam Chanler-Berat; Running time: 105 minutes; Certification: 12A
It’s likely most people will have seen the trailers and posters for Mr. Vaughn’s latest comedy, the set-up of which finds the big man overwhelmed by the discovery that, following a few too many visits to the sperm bank in his earlier years, he’s the biological father of 533 children. What you may not know is that it’s actually a remake of a film called Starbuck (a reference not lost in this version) which, à la Michael Haneke and Funny Games, was also written and directed by Delivery Man’s Ken Scott. It’s a strange move to remake one’s own film, particularly with only a couple of years in between, but wouldn’t you know he’s gone and done it, and while this reviewer hasn’t seen the original, it’s hard to imagine a remake was entirely necessary.
If it’s possible to convince cynics that Vince Vaughn isn’t always annoying, Delivery Man might – might – just be the film to do so. Despite his many, occasionally irritating eccentricities, Vaughn has never annoyed me like he has with others. He can get irksome, for sure, but more often than not I find him a perfectly unobjectionable screen presence. He just does what he does. Yet even if you are such a movie-goer who does get easily put off by the mere mention of the name, whatever irritating habits he has are definitely toned down here; save for an excessive amount of gapey mouth. It’s closer to the loveable Vince Vaughn of Dodgeball than the rowdy Vince Vaughn of The Internship (the impressive Vince Vaughn of Swingers is still a long way off).
Yet regardless of which Vaughn we see here, Delivery Man is definitely a case of “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Just give it a chance first. While the film is entirely unspectacular, the idea it explores is rather interesting, and it has, at its heart, a genuine message. To my surprise, I ended up taking more from the film than just throwaway comedy, of which we generally get a sufficient amount but only towards the second half. The humour is no doubt grounded by the presence of the excellent Cobie Smulders and elevated by the brilliant, rising-to-fame Chris Pratt, but Vaughn certainly holds his own and he does, hard as it may be to believe, give his character a sympathetic air throughout his journey as a redemptive father.
Look, no-one is saying Delivery Man is a brilliant piece of work, or even a great one – it’s far from one of the funniest comedies of recent years – but there’s more to it than the surface suggests. And hey, if nothing else, it’s a perfectly serviceable piece of entertainment that does absolutely nothing to offend. Sure you can find problems with minimal digging or rattle on about how rubbish and annoying you find Vince Vaughn, but why bother? Just accept it and move on.