Delivery Man | C
Vince Vaughn is pretty much a no-frills movie star, with a kind of lumpy, dough-rolled ordinariness that makes him the ideal foil for multiplex mediocrity. He hasn’t taken a real risk on screen in well over a decade, and his early promise and flashes of sex and danger have been replaced by a procession of shlubby everyman comedy roles, where Vaughn smirks and bluff his way through lazy material. It is, as my colleague Jeff Meyers suggested, like Vaughn is committed to making the perfect in-flight movie. With Delivery Man, Vaughn may have finally achieved his goal; producing a movie that practically vanishes from memory as soon as the tray tables have been returned to their upright positions.
This time, the high-concept premise has been field-tested as a slightly more lively French Canadian import, Starbuck, all the way back in 2011. Ken Scott directed both versions, though now he suddenly seems unfamiliar with the material. A listless Vaughn goes through the motions as David Wozniak, an aimless goof who drives the delivery truck for his family’s butcher shop. He spends his off-time on get-rich-quick schemes, some of which have left him in hock to some shady characters.
One of his moneymaking plans back in the ’90s involved extremely frequent personal donations to a fertility clinic that, due to negligence, used David’s samples to produce a staggering 533 babies. Now those mostly grown kids have filed a class-action lawsuit to reveal the identity of the sperm donor. Our zero hero, still struggling with the idea that his smart and pretty girlfriend (Cobie Smulders) is pregnant, is faced with being the reluctant daddy to not just his girlfriend’s baby, but to a diverse flock of millennial progeny who, when assembled, look a bit like an iPhone ad campaign come to life.
Whatever life is in this disposable picture comes mostly from Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) as David’s disheveled lawyer and best buddy. The very likable Pratt has precision comic timing, a skill set that Vaughn sadly has let go to seed. Audience heartstrings are tugged on harder than a speed metal bassist, but the emotions never feel earned, and neither does the hefty paycheck that Vaughn must feel is his birthright by now.
Delivery Man opens in theaters on Nov. 29, and is rated PG-13, with a running time of 105 minutes.