"A remake certainly wasn't the worst idea in the world, but, as with writing, you often need a fresh, independent eye to read over your work"
No less than three years ago, Canadian director Ken Scott released his popular, award-winning comedy Starbuck – a tale of a man who discovers he is the biological father of 533 people following some rather generous donations to a sperm bank in his youth. However the filmmaker has now revisited his very own tale with Delivery Man, providing this story with a Hollywood touch in the vein hope of branching out to wider audience.
Vince Vaughn takes on the title role of David Wozniak, a hapless delivery man, working for the family butcher business. When his on/off girlfriend Emma (Cobie Smulders) announces she is pregnant, David realises he has no option but to turn his life around and prove his worth as a father – however his wish is granted in abundance, when he discovers that he is the father of hundreds of youngsters following several trips to a fertility clinic 20 years before, while 142 of them are filing a lawsuit to reveal his identity. Despite having signed a confidentiality agreement under the pseudonym Starbuck – and given strict instructions by his best buddy-turned-attorney Brett (Chris Pratt) to avoid any contact, David can't quite resist the urge to meet his various children, in an attempt to become the father he always wanted to be.
When an announcement was made that Starbuck was to be given a Hollywood make-over, eyebrows were suitably raised – and rightly so. You expect, and hope, that Scott will use his artistic licence to bring something new to proceedings and perhaps seek in improving on what came before – yet he remains frustratingly faithful, and this is merely an underwhelming, carbon-copy of the original feature, and a like for like remake. Of course for those coming to this tale afresh won't be affected by this, though given the original feature was flawed enough as it is, it's a real shame to not see a more accomplished piece of cinema second time around for the new wave of viewers that this film will inevitably attract.
The leading attraction is most likely to be Vince Vaughn, who is playing, you guessed it, Vince Vaughn. Though in fairness, he's an inherently likeable actor, and such empathy is imperative to the character at hand. David needs that endearing quality to his demeanour because he's something of an anti-hero, as a flawed layabout who makes an array of mistakes. However Vaughn ensures we can find the good in him, and root for him in spite of his various shortcomings.
The atmosphere to the title shadows that of our protagonist too, as to begin with it feels somewhat flat, and it takes a while to grow into the film, before the more heartwarming elements take precedence over the narrative. Ultimately, Delivery Man is surrealistic, overstated piece of cinema that's good fun to indulge in. That's not to say you don't spend the entire time picking holes in what is an extremely flawed narrative, and although a suspension of disbelief is naturally required, this really does take the biscuit.
A remake certainly wasn't the worst idea in the world, but, as with writing, you often need a fresh, independent eye to read over your work, as there will undoubtedly be errors the writer will have accidentally bypassed (don't start) – and it seems that, in this instance, the same applies to films directing. Perhaps Scott may have benefited from handing the reigns over to somebody else, with an original interpretation welcomed on this particular occasion.