David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn) is good at one thing: Letting down those who care about him most. He works at his family’s meat shop as a delivery man. He is never on time. He uses the delivery truck as his own personal vehicle, racking up countless parking tickets. He owes some very bad men a lot of money. And, most recently, his girlfriend, Emma (Cobie Smulders) who he has all but abandoned, just told him she is pregnant. Not able to trust that he’ll be there for her or the baby, she tells him that she will do it on her own.
David is crushed. He didn’t even know that he wanted a kid. Now that it is happening, he has decided that it is definitely something he wants. His friend, Brett (Chris Pratt), who has 4 kids of his own, tells David that not only is having kids a nightmare, but David isn’t ready to have kids.
That is when fate/irony steps in. When David gets home, a man is waiting to speak to him. It turns out, when David was younger, he anonymously donated to a sperm bank to earn money. Over about 3 years, he made almost 700 donations. As a result of director of the sperm bank’s overuse of David’s sperm, David is now the father of 533 children. He is given an envelope with profiles of 142 of the children, who are part of a class action lawsuit to find out the identity of their father.
Determined to prove himself to, well, everyone, but especially Emma, and against Brett’s advice, David starts looking through the profiles. He decides that he will do whatever he can to help his kids however he can. As he spends time with his children, who only know him as a kind stranger, David starts to feel a real connection with them.
How will David deal with his sudden explosion of children? How will he break the news to those closest to him? What of his kids? Should he reveal his identity?
Delivery Man came out of left field for me. Vince Vaughn, who is a comedic genius (most of the time), really surprises in this film. His last few movies haven’t been all that great. (The Internship, The Dilemma, The Break-Up. All less than good films. Maybe Vince should avoid films whose titles start with “The.”) But this one, this one is much better than anticipated.
Sure, Vince’s funny side comes through. And it’s very funny. But there are so many touching scenes in this movie. It definitely wasn’t what I expected at all from a Vince Vaughn vehicle. He moves through the more serious moments with the same expertise that he navigates the funnier scenes.
The kids are not all your typical good-looking, successful types. They run the gamut from all-stars to druggies to severely handicapped. I was glad to see that not everyone conforms to what Hollywood typically presents. Throughout the film, none of these “lesser” children are forgotten. (Kudos to the screenwriters for this.) And the actors who portray the kids never feel like they are just going through the motions.
Chris Pratt, as David’s “trapped in fatherhood” lawyer friend delivers. (Pun not intended, but it works.) As a parent, I can definitely relate to his character. His performance is similar to what I go through on a daily basis. Again, my compliments to the writing of the script. And to Chris for giving a believable performance. And doing so with a straight face. Bobby Moynihan moved up on the acting scale with his character. It would be easy for him to be over the top, seeing what he does on Saturday Night Live. He doesn’t delve into the serious scenes like Vince does, but he definitely steers clear of becoming an obnoxious presence, as he could have very easily done.
Delivery Man will have you all over the place emotionally. In a good way. You’ll be tearing up one minute and laughing the next. It was a pleasant surprise that they took such a ridiculous concept and made it into a film that really works.