After watching trailers for The Delivery Man, I was prepared for a lowbrow comedy about the familiar character of a clueless middle-aged man. I assumed it would be a typical, feel-good, funny film with cheap jokes. While the movie did include the obligatory comedic one-liners, they were well written and existed in tangent with a surprisingly deep plotline.
The Delivery Man tells the story of an unmotivated 40-something living without any true purpose until he receives some shocking information from a fertility clinic that he once donated to for a tidy sum of $24,000. It turns out that David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn), a struggling meat truck driver, had donated sperm over 600 times and, consequently, fathered 533 children. Legal counsel from the clinic informs Wozniak that 142 of his children are filing a class action lawsuit against the institution in order to find out the identity of their biological father.
The plot is novel, if marked with some blatant logical fallacies. Why are all these children suddenly consumed by a desire to know their father? Why do they all just conveniently happen to live in New York City? Director Ken Scott does not address these obvious improbabilities, but he does provide the audience with a quality comedy that is refreshingly sentimental.
The first 10 minutes seemed to confirm my initial judgments. The action was slow, the relationships confusing and the humor forced. However, the film quickly improved as Wozniak embarked on his quest to meet some of his children. Scott expertly captures these unconventional relationships, managing to convey a sense of uncertainty, affection and belonging. Perhaps most touching is the developing relationship between Wozniak and his mentally handicapped son, Ryan (SÃ? ©bastien RenÃ? ©.) At first unsure of how to approach Ryan, David ultimately vows to remain a strong presence in his life.
Chris Pratt, provides comic relief as Woznaik’s best-friend Brett. An exhausted, disillusioned dad, he volunteers to be Wozniak’s pinch-hitting lawyer, eager to get back into the law game. He is arguably the best-written character, and his hilarious bluntness alleviates some of the heavier moments in the film.
While the Wozniak-offspring and Wozniak-best friend relationships definitely contribute to the film but the connection between David and his girlfriend Emma (Cobie Smulders) seemed half-baked and detracted from parts of the film.
All in all, The Delivery Man was a pleasant surprise. It was funny and inspiring, even in its slightly unrealistic premise, and has redeeming qualities, it might still be better to wait to watch it until it’s released on Redbox.