Title: Delivery Man
HTS Overall Score:81
David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn) is the biggest overachieving slacker on Earth. He owes the mob $80,000 dollars, he’s the worst employee in his family’s meat packing business, his girlfriend Emma (Cobie Smulders) is pregnant, and he’s illegally growing pot to make ends meet. He’s a nothing and just about everyone in his life constantly reminds him of his lowly status. What his friends and family don’t know – this is where overachievement applies – is quite a big secret about his past money making endeavors. David, you see, made multiple visits to a fertility clinic during the early ‘90s...making just over 600 deposits, if you’re keeping score. Assured of his anonymity, David simply made the deposits, took his cash, and happily went about his life. The clinic, however, had a secret of their own. They became heavily reliant on their vast reserves of David’s unusually strong donations. In fact, they became so reliant that David’s donations helped father over 500 children.
In the throes of grappling with the news of his girlfriend’s pregnancy and feeling the pressures of his aimless life, David convinces himself that becoming a father will give him direction and grounding. He’s confident in his epiphany until he has an unexpected run-in with a lawyer. The lawyer tells him about the clinic’s mistake, and informs him that 142 of his children are suing to uncover his identity. Not knowing what to do, David enlists the help of his best friend (and lawyer) to keep his anonymity intact. Perhaps it’s David’s stupidity, or his big heart, but he begins stalking and meeting his children, dancing dangerously close to blowing his legal veil of cover.
Ken Scott (director/writer) based Delivery Man on a previously produced French-Canadian language film called Starbuck (which is David’s fertility clinic pseudonym in Delivery Man). The heart of Delivery Man is quite enjoyable, as David secretly goes about meeting his diversely unique children. One is a star basketball player for the New York Knicks, another is a struggling actor, there’s also a street musician, a drug addict, and a severely disabled boy. While they remain ignorant to his true identity, David amusingly watches them with a parent’s eye, feeling and expressing all of the joys of parenthood. He exuberantly praises their accomplishments, revels in their successes, comforts them in their times of need, and takes them under his wing. The transformation that David experiences is surprising to him, and he likes it. But his poor financial situation and mob debts weigh heavily on his mind, forcing him to make a decision: reveal his identity to his children or countersue the clinic for money.
Over the years, Vince Vaughn has perfected the role of the immature underdog, which seems to make him a polarizing actor; viewers either find him adorably funny or downright annoying. In Delivery Man, Vaughn brings that flawed ‘big-kid’ demeanor back to the silver screen. Perhaps it’s his perceived naivety or his comedic charm, but it’s hard not to rally behind his character and root for him till the bitter end. This makes Vaughn the perfect actor for the role of David, especially as he stumbles through endlessly varied paternalistic emotions and the hard knock realties of his flawed life.
Scott’s script is well crafted, blending dramatic and comedic elements into a charming storyline. The film has quite a few moments that tug on the heartstrings, most notably David’s interaction with his disabled son played by Sebastien Rene. It also has quite a bit of situational comedy to lighten the mood. This is not to say that there aren’t a few gapping holes in plot. Most glaringly, Scott never reveals (or even references) any of the women that used David’s sperm to give birth to his 533 children. They simply don’t seem exist. Perhaps this was a purposeful choice on Scott’s part, using it to highlight the importance of a father in a child’s life (but it feels odd as the film progresses).
PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual content, some drug material, brief violence and language.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/news/delm3.png[/img]Touchstone delivers Delivery Man with an excellent MPEG-4 AVC high-def encode in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. While the term "cinematic" is often overused, it's appropriate in this case because the film simply has an appealing cinematic image quality. Its warmth and smoothness are pleasing to the eye, aided by pronounced gold and tan colors. Otherwise, the film’s palate is relatively neutral. Flesh tones appear natural. While shadow detail is good, there is a fair amount of crush (especially visible in low light scenes involving dark clothing or characters with black hair). Fine details, such as facial features, are revealing and abundantly visible during nearly every scene, matching what we have come to expect from modern hi-def films.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/news//delm4.png[/img]Delivery Man’s DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track is richly layered and surprisingly lively for a dramatic comedy. Dialog, which is the most important factor for a film of this nature, is rich and thick with excellent dispersion across the screen. The surrounds bring the city to life, pouring sounds of passing subway trains, the rumble of cars and motorcycle engines, distant police sirens, and a generalized city hum into the room. Directionality is excellent and the movement of sounds (such as a truck passing from the rear to the front) is well executed. All of these factors lead to a rather authentic city-living experience. The sub channel is lightly used, surfacing to add a smooth warmth to car doors slamming, the rumbling of engines, and the like. Jon Brion’s (This Is 40, Step Brothers) original score is vibrant and engaging, while the film’s added music tracks pop with confidence.
• Building Family
• Vince Vaughn: Off the Cuff
• Deleted Scene: You’re under arrest
Delivery Man is a clever and charming film. It teeters along a fine line of comedy and drama, producing quite a few laughs along the way. Watching Vince Vaughn’s character slowly discover his children is fascinating, and while the story has a few holes its overall premise is endearing enough to forgive any faults. The film’s audio and video qualities are first rate, with a particularly good audio presentation that pulls the viewer into the ambiance of New York City life. The disc's extras are decent, with a few behind the scenes clips that are enjoyable to watch. It’s easy to recommend this light hearted film as a decent choice for a night’s entertainment. Most viewers will probably be satisfied with one watch, making Delivery Man a great candidate as a rental-first film.
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt, Cobie Smulders
Directed by: Ken Scott
Written by: Ken Scott (screenplay), Ken Scott (original screenplay "Starbuck"), Martin Petit (original screenplay "Starbuck")
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio: English: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 , Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Studio: Disney / Buena Vista
Runtime: 103 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: March 25, 2014
Buy Delivery Man on Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It! (Rental First)