"Dōn’t you dâre
wrīte mē out
THREE OUT OF FIVE
“Yo no soy David Wozniak! [I’m not David Wozniak!]” Spoken in broken Spanish, this is the default remark that David falls back on when he finds himself in a sticky situation. We know – he’s quite the amateur. David (Vince Vaughn), who bears no relation to tech genius Steve, is a broke and disappointing 40-something meat deliverer. He’s naive enough to be fooled by pyramid schemers, and defenceless enough to be made the butt of his brothers’ constant jokes. This isn’t helped by the fact that, in his 20s, under the pseudonym of Starbuck, he donated sperm 696 times in order to make extra cash. The result – thousands of dollars and 533 children. The situation gets even stickier when 142 of these ‘Starbuck Kids’ launch a class action to disclose the identity of their biological father. No amount of Spanish will ever solve this problema.
After discovering that one of his children is a champion basketballer, David decides to seek out his other genetic products. If David can prove himself to be a loving father to his Starbuck Kids, he will rightfully shed his status as the family screw-up. But it’s a mammoth task, especially if your offspring include a struggling actor, a drug-using Bloomingdales assistant, an African-American salon worker, a hardline vegan philosophy nerd and a paraplegic in disability care.
Vince Vaughn is usually typecast as the jerky everyman. So understandably, Vaughn detractors will keep their distance from this film. However, David Wozniak does have his merits. Where he lacks in wit, he makes up for in heart. It’s pleasing to see his compassion and paternal side shine through when helping out his children. And surprisingly, the purpose behind his multiple sperm donations does reinforce his selflessness.
For Vaughn critics, Chris Pratt’s very presence might be the right antidote to their ill will. As Brett, David’s grubby best friend and lawyer elect, he reprises his Parks and Recreation comedic talent and teddy-bear likeability. And although he can be dismissed as an actor prone to typecasting, like Vaughn, just remember that he’ll be playing muscled-up Peter Quill/Star-Lord in Marvel’s Guardian of the Galaxy (2014). There are more dimensions to this man than we think.
Originally a French-Canadian film, this US version has a distinct Brooklyn flavour. Consequently, ‘Someday’, by New York rockers the Strokes, was a fitting choice for the opening credits, foreshadowing a simple, feel-good ending: “Say I will try my best.” It’s also touching to hear how the Wozniak family came to be – from meagre living in Poland to humble beginnings in the land of opportunity.
Delivery Man is somewhat a problematic film, partly because of its subject matter and partly because of its believability. In the real world, Starbuck would most probably fall victim to the comedy routines of Jay Leno and Bill Maher – true. However, would he become such a social media phenomenon? It’s hard to imagine teens and young adults hash-tagging “Starbuck” and making it trend. Also, David is told he has “high-quality sperm”, which is the reason why the clinic repeatedly provided his specimen to recipient mothers. However, in reality, don’t these mothers have the final say as to whose sperm they use? Wouldn’t it be medical negligence otherwise? I sense another class action coming along.
Delivery Man is a film that undoubtedly flies under the radar. It’s not an extravagantly heart-wrenching or hilarious film but that’s alright, as it doesn’t need to be. For viewers struggling to uncover the true identities of their biological parents, this film might strike a chord with them. Then again, they might dislike Vince Vaughn, or - heaven forbid - Chris Pratt! Just prepare yourself for some cheesy ‘happy family’ scenes. This is a DreamWorks-Disney film after all, discounting that one abortion joke.