Muted Vaughn is a wel­come sur­prise

DE­LIV­ERY MAN

Kapi-Mana News - - ENTERTAINMENT -

When a film is tweaked, teased and de­liv­ered to its ‘‘ tar­get au­di­ence’’ with the re­lent­less zeal of a used car sales­man, it is rarely given a chance to sur­prise you.

Ap­par­ently the Cana­dian team be­hind De­liv­ery Man, an Amer­i­can re­make of their film Star­buck, didn’t get that Hol­ly­wood memo.

In de­fi­ance of the film’s one-note posters fea­tur­ing pud­ding-faced king-of-the-louts Vince Vaughn, De­liv­ery Man is an un­ex­pect­edly sweet lit­tle film.

The sur­prise comes care of a fresh, al­beit con­trived story and Vaughn turn­ing in an un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally muted per­for­mance to tell it.

He plays David Woz­niak, a life­long loser who dis­cov­ers he has fa­thered 533 chil­dren af­ter a money-mak­ing stint as a sperm donor in his 20s.

When 140 or so of his un­planned be­gats sue the clinic they were con­ceived at to re­veal his iden­tity, the mid­dle-aged man- in-a-mud­dle must de­cide whether to daddy-up or take the money and run.

From the out­side, De­liv­ery Man seems to be yet another ve­hi­cle for Vaughn’s brand of lack­adaisi­cal sports-lout-with-a-heart com­edy. It’s any­thing but, though. Touch­ing and of­ten hi­lar­i­ous, the film un­packs the idea of fa­ther­hood and the choices peo­ple make to con­nect – or not – with fam­ily and finds a ten­der-hearted mes­sage: kind­ness and love al­ways win out.

It should be teeth- achingly sac­cha­rine, but Cana­dian di­rec­tor and screen­writer Ken Scott’s indie style ( the film feels al­most Euro­pean, though it’s set in New York) sets the film apart from Hol­ly­wood’s usual boor­ish ap­proach to com­edy.

Woz­niak’s bluff, af­fec­tion­ate fam­ily and his gag­gle of gor­geous prog­eny all add charm and de­tail to what could oth­er­wise have been an un­ap­peal­ing lec­ture on to­geth­er­ness.

It’s not a per­fect film, though; a bum note is Scott re­ly­ing on awk­ward stereo­types to get the breadth of Woz­niak’s kids’ diver­sity across.

And, as re­fresh­ing as Vaughn’s toned down per­for­mance is, he seems out of his depth with more sub­tle emo­tions.

At times he looks more like the vic­tim of a stick-up than a com­plex man try­ing to come to terms with his choices.

Still, he’s not left to carry this de­liv­ery alone.

Vaughn gets am­ple back- up from a cho­rus of fresh-faced kids, each more adorable than the last.

But the team­ster lug­ging the re­ally heavy stuff is Chris Pratt as Woz­niak’s best buddy and feck­less lawyer, Brett.

His dead­pan de­liv­ery of Brett’s amoral play­book is the com­edy heart of the film – de­light­fully brash and ir­rev­er­ent.

In the end, there’s no deny­ing the charm of a film, how­ever con­trived, that cel­e­brates the ran­dom­ness of life and the in­fi­nite pos­si­bil­i­ties of love.

Mushy, but wel­come, good­ness.

Daddy is­sues: Vince Vaughn and Chris Pratt mud­dle their way through their baby prob­lems (all 533 of them) in De­liv­ery Man.

Star­ring: Vince Vaughn, Co­bie Smul­ders and Chris Pratt. Writ­ten and di­rected by Ken Scott. Com­edy: 1hr 44min. M for of­fen­sive lan­guage. Now show­ing at Read­ing and Event cine­mas.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.