Vince Vaughn fails to deliver laughs in ‘Delivery Man’


By Jack Trainor / Staff Writer

‘Delivery Man’

Directed by: Ken Scott

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt, Cobie Smulders

Grade: D+

Although “Delivery Man” puts a different spin on the meaning of fatherhood with the absurdity of having 500 children, nothing else is new or original about it. So perhaps it didn’t make much sense to cast Vince Vaughn, who hasn’t figured out how to play anything other than that guy everybody likes.  

This time, Vaughn’s character is David Wozniak, a truck driver for his family’s butcher shop in New York City. Things start to go wrong for Wozniak when he finds out the 553 sperm donations he made to a fertility clinic 20 years ago have resulted in 553 biological children — who have all demanded to meet him. What’s more, his pregnant girlfriend Emma (Cobie Smulders, whom the film could have used more of than her roughly 15 minutes of screen time) is deciding whether she wants David’s flakiness in her life or not. 

Almost identically to his performance in 2004’s “Dodgeball,” Vaughn plays the “average Joe” who, despite his shortcomings, never fails to make everybody love him. Just as his gym members can’t get mad at Vaughn’s character for not paying the gym’s mortgage in “Dodgeball,” all of Wozniak’s kids unconditionally love him before they even know he’s their father.

The theme of fatherhood and the “family is family no matter what” message are ubiquitous. Little is left for the audience to interpret, and these themes get so stale that it actually plants thoughts of a vasectomy into your brain.

Wozniak sanely believes he can’t actually be the father of more than 500 kids, so he decides to seek out some of his children as a Good Samaritan. He tells his friend and lawyer Brett (Chris Pratt) that he wants to be their “guardian angel” since he can’t be their father, to which Brett responds, “What’s the difference?”

One son (none of them are particularly well developed characters) gets offended and whiny when David slips and refers to his pregnant girlfriend as his “real family.” The general sentiment among his hundreds of progeny is that they all have holes in their lives that only David can fill as a father. It’s as if the biological factor outweighs any other father-like relationship in their lives, and it makes the children look shallow, rather than worthy of your pity.

Practically everything else about “Delivery Man” tries too hard to compensate for Vaughn’s relaxed, down-to-earth approach to comedy. Although the rubber-ball-to-the-testicles gag is mercifully absent, director Ken Scott uses other ploys in its place.

In a scene where David learns about his children from a lawyer who is creepily waiting for him inside his own home, David pauses before trying to pass himself off as the house cleaner, offensively rattling off Spanish phrases. If this wasn’t tugging the bottom of our pants and pleading for a laugh the first time, it’s even more childish and grating when he pulls a similar stunt (bad Spanish included) later on in the film

Pratt is the most entertaining part of the movie as a loser of a lawyer and an overwhelmed single father of four out-of-control children. His delivery serves as a nice foil to Vaughn’s confident, yet indifferent, style. But even the “Parks and Recreation” star’s comedic awkwardness begins to lose its flair by the time the movie ends.

Just as I can’t offer any advice on fathering a child, neither can “Delivery Man.” But if you are a dad, a good first step would be to stay home with your child rather than wasting the time and money on this movie.