Magazine article Variety

Remake Delivers the Goods

Magazine article Variety

Remake Delivers the Goods

Article excerpt

Remake Delivers the Goods

In the 17 years since "Swingers," Vince Vaughn has cultivated the comedic persona of an obnoxious and insensitive boor, so it may come as a surprise to learn that "Delivery Man" reveals a softer side entirely. As David Wozniak, the world's most fertile sperm donor, the star plays someone who's overwhelmed as opposed to merely overwhelming. It's a welcome change, though a significant marketing challenge as well, considering DreamWorks has almost . no way °f letting audiences know that "Delivery Man" is virtually nothing like a Vince Vaughn movie, but rather a heartfelt celebration of parenthood presented under radically exaggerated circumstances.

Such sincerity comes easily for Canadian writer-director Ken Scott, who's already told this story once before in the charming French-language hit "Starbuck." Now, working in Hollywood, he demonstrates the good sense not to mess with success, engineering what amounts to a scene-for-scene remake of that earlier feel-good outing, with the notable addition of Chris Pratt in his funniest supporting performance yet.

Transplanted from Montreal to Manhattan for the benefit of this new version, Wozniak drives a deli-meat truck, but even that task proves too much responsibility for his stunted abilities. Vaughn's character may not be the sharpest blade in the family butchery, but he has a good soul, which comes through the instant he receives the news: Nearly 20 years earlier, he donated dozens of times to a fertility clinic, which, through an administrative fluke, used his sperm to foster 533 children, 142 of whom are demanding to know the identity of their biological father. More shocking for Wozniak is the revelation that his policewoman g.f. (Cobie Smulders) is pregnant.

Presented with a packet of information about his children, Wozniak draws one page at random and decides to pay the kid a visit, eavesdropping on a professional basketball game where his son scores the winning shot. For a split second, the film allows audiences to think that perhaps this sub-average shlub could be responsible for fathering 533 exceptional offspring: a mix of athletes, stars and world leaders.

That's the beauty of Scott's script, which supplies precisely the emotional uplift moviegoers want, while still managing to surprise at every turn. …

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