Movie review: Vince Vaughn is a sperm donor with 533 children in 'Delivery Man'



 

Not only is his girlfriend pregnant, but also his regular sperm donations at a privately owned clinic produced -- yoi and double yoi -- 533 children. And 142 of them are suing to learn the identity of the donor who used the pseudonym Starbuck in the early 1990s.

If that wasn't trouble enough for the delivery driver for his family's Brooklyn butcher shop, David has been growing marijuana in his apartment, owes thugs $80,000 and is considered the immature, unreliable one of the business for good reason.

'Delivery Man'

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt.

Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual content, some drug material, brief violence and language.


David turns to Brett (Chris Pratt), his best friend, a father of four and sometime attorney, for legal help. Despite Brett's warning, David dips into the profiles of his biological brood and starts anonymously checking up on them. A basketball game and visit with a barista here, a pizza delivery there.

Turns out this guardian angel and father-from-afar business is more complicated than he could have imagined. But it also inspires him about the unborn child who will be No. 534 as he vows to his skeptical girlfriend, Emma (Cobie Smulders): "I have officially decided to have a life. I'm going to convince you I deserve to be this kid's father."

"Delivery Man" tracks David as he dives deeper into the gene pool and the lawsuit proceeds, as does Emma's pregnancy and an urgency to repay the unlawful lenders. All of these plot points can gestate only for so long before coming to term with a fairy-tale ending.

This is a remake of a sentimental French Canadian comedy "Starbuck," which took its name from a legendary Canadian Holstein bull with exceptional genetics. It was set in Montreal and starred Patrick Huard as daddy dearest.

Written and directed by "Starbuck" filmmaker Ken Scott, the movie is designed as a heartwarming comedy that goes for the tears, group hugs and a way too tidy and speedy ending. "Delivery Man" conveniently excludes the parents, single or otherwise, and disquietingly equates sperm donor with father.

But it all works thanks to Mr. Vaughn as an overgrown adolescent who matures into manhood before our eyes. Instead of being bailed out of fixes, he has to try to assist his offspring whose interests and talents are as diverse as their looks, given their status as half-siblings.

He plays well against and off Mr. Pratt ("Parks and Recreation" and a growing number of movies), but he has to carry this movie rather than share the limelight with an Owen Wilson or a Ben Stiller. After all, as the Wozniak patriarch, played by Polish actor Andrzej Blumenfeld, counsels, "You have to make the most of the present."

"Delivery Man" is a movie smiley face; some will scoff at its feel-good simplicity; others will embrace it like a soothing cup of hot cocoa.

 


Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: bvancheri@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1632. Read her blog: www.post-gazette.com/madaboutmovies.

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