Delivery Man (12A)
Having established a screen persona as an amiable loafer, loser and all-round slacker Vince Vaughn is perfectly cast as the – you guessed it – amiable loafer who suddenly finds himself the father of more than 500 children.
Formerly a sperm donor Dave Wozniak (Vaughn) was a generous giver. So much so that not only is he something of a record breaker but 142 of his progeny are challenging his right to anonymity in court. Put simply, they want their dad.
And the man who sired them can’t resist finding out more. As he does so he resolves to change their lives for the better. One is an athlete. Another is a coffee shop waiter. Another, a junkie. All get a helping hand. Clearly Dave can’t be a father but he can be a guardian angel. Or a benevolent stalker.
Designed as an uncomfortable comedy Delivery Man goes deeper than one might expect. It’s hardly the kind of film to rock the world but nonetheless it asks awkward questions on an industrial scale.
To name or not to name. It’s a big question. And in a film that boasts a wholly contrived plotline with a likeable slob at its core it is Vaughn that makes it work.
Of course he has issues at home, too. Pregnant girlfriend Emma (Cobie Smulders) wants a family. But how can Dave deliver the goods in the knowledge that he already has the world’s biggest clan out there…?
At its most basic Delivery Man is a movie about the importance of family and traditional values. There is an unsavoury sub-plot involving Dave’s debts that sees his elderly father being roughed up by heavies. But it’s unrequired and unsettling to a story that desperately seeks to be a giant cinematic hug.
As for Vaughn, he gives Dave a purpose just in time to prevent his life with Emma descending into chaos. Suddenly, at 40, he’s a mature individual.
Star rating: ***