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HomeBlogPopcorn Parent Movie ReviewsFamily Movie Review: Delivery Man (PG-13)

Family Movie Review: Delivery Man (PG-13)

The film is from Canadian writer-director Ken Scott, who is basically adapting his previous film “Starbuck” for American, English-speaking audiences (“Starbuck” was in French). “Delivery Man” is schmaltzier than its predecessor, though, and adds Chris Pratt in a supporting role of rambunctious zaniness. But his turn as a put-upon dad can’t right this film, which careens too often between vacillating plot elements.

Vaughn stars as David Wozniak, a delivery driver for his family’s butcher business. Although his father Mikolaj (Andrzej Blumenfeld) came to this country years ago and built something from scratch, David is just bumming around Brooklyn, growing marijuana plants at home and failing to live up to the expectations of his police officer girlfriend Emma (Cobie Smulders, of “Safe Haven” and “The Avengers”). But David realizes things have to change when Emma announces that she’s pregnant—and when he also learns that, thanks to hundreds of donations to a fertility clinic two decades ago, he’s accidentally fathered more than 500 children. Now, more than 100 are pursuing legal action to learn who their father is, and David is going to have to answer to them eventually.

What’s a terrified slacker to do? Surprisingly, David wants to get involved in the lives of these 20-somethings, who are widely different despite their shared father. One is a professional basketball player. One is handicapped. One is a street musician. One is a lifeguard. One wants to be an actor. One is a drug addict. Maybe they need his help, David thinks—so the film begins to follow a formula of introducing a child, having David visit them without really saying who he is, interacting with them in some meaningful way, and then going onto the next one. But as secrets are revealed, the film gets into the more technical elements of this scenario, too—the legal battles, the lines David can and cannot cross. If you never knew about your children, can you be a father? And to what degree?

Perhaps “Delivery Man” would be more effective it wasn’t so stuck on making you cry. But then David says things like “They need me; they need a guardian angel,” and you know exactly how this movie is going to go. It’s not that Vaughn is unbelievable—he does look exhausted the whole time, which I’m sure anyone would be if they learned they fathered hundreds of children—but that the film doesn’t take that many risks with his character or the plot overall. It’s a sex joke, then a family drama joke, then a masturbation joke, then another “kids are stressful!” joke. And as much as Pratt is likeably bumbling as David’s best friend, Brett, a lawyer with four children who run him ragged, his antics fall into that repetition, too.

You can guess how “Delivery Man” ends, and it’s unsurprising that it’s coming out before the Thanksgiving holiday, so families can theoretically go see this together. It’s clearly meant for that purpose, for parents to go see the film with their children and appreciate them more. But did “Delivery Man” have to be so obvious about it? The lack of subtlety is the film’s most off-putting, and yet simultaneously predictable, quality.

Enjoy reading this review? Check out our roundup of what other films are opening this week.

Interested in a previously released film? Read our reviews of films already showing in your local theater.

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