Delivery Man

Directed By: Ken Scott

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt, and Cobie Smulders

Remakes are part of the film industry's DNA, but directors remaking their own original works is something entirely different.  That's what's happening with this weekend's comedy vehicle Delivery Man starring Vince Vaughn in which director Ken Scott is remaking his own Canadian comedy Starbuck.  It's a bold move to say the least.  The directors I can notably recall who decided to reimagine their own works are amongst an elite group of filmmakers.  Names like DeMille, Hitchcock, and Haneke should sound familiar.  Unfortunately for Ken Scott, he’s not part of this elite group, and his bold move ultimately doesn't pay off.  Because he does nothing to reinvent the wheel with this English-language interpretation of Starbuck, Delivery Man sucks.

In the early 1990s, David Wozniak (Vaughn) lived near a fertility clinic and supplemented his income by routinely masturbating at this clinic.  During his time, he made 693 sperm donations.  Having made just under 25 thousand dollars for his tiresome efforts, David can certainly attest to the fact that wrestling the dragon does pay.  Fast forward to the present, however, and David has a big problem.  Because of his particularly strong sperm and the clinic's frequent use of his product, he's fathered 533 children.

Of his children, 142 are filing a lawsuit against the fertility clinic to force them to reveal David's identity.  All the children know is that their biological father donated sperm under the alias of "Starbuck".  They legally have no right to know anything beyond this.  This news couldn't have come at a more inopportune time for David.  He's a loser working as a delivery guy for his father's butcher shop.  He's 80 thousand dollars deep with some loan sharks in town and they're looking to get their money back.  To make matters worse, his girlfriend Emma (Cobie Smulders) has just told him that she's pregnant with his child.  With all that's taking place, the one bright spot for David is that he has no legal fees.  His close friend Brett (Chris Pratt) is his attorney.

It's safe to say that I have no love lost for Delivery Man.  Ken Scott does nothing to distinguish this from the original Starbuck.  The dialogue eerily sounds exactly like the English subtitles of the original.  Having not seen the original in more than seven months, I could surprisingly hear every line in my head long before they were actually uttered on screen.  Another problem with this lack of reinterpretation is the acting.  Rather than taking the character of David Wozniak in his own direction creatively, star Vince Vaughn just mimics the performance of Patrick Huard in every way.  It's as if Vaughn watched the original and subsequently decided to play movie karaoke with the role.  There's no real effort to make this character Starbuck his own.  The same can be said for Chris Pratt and Cobie Smulders in their supporting performances.

To make matters worse, Scott has some new problems this second time around.  For instance, the pacing is completely off in Delivery Man.  Scott seems to be rushing through his rehashed material.  As such, he doesn't properly develop the film’s comedic arcs, and most jokes fall flat.  Another problem is that this film is cheesier and snappier than the original.  Given that we're dealing with a main character who's trying to be the guardian angel of his 533 children, that should be pretty unbelievable, but it is indeed true.  This is because the dialogue in this screenplay is clunky and inauthentic, a fatal flaw for the film.

If you're going to remake something you've already made, it damn well needs to be better.  As it stands, Delivery Man is no Starbuck.  It's copy-and-paste filmmaking on the part of Ken Scott.  Given that I considered the original to be merely decent, that's pretty bad.  If you opt to waste your time on this one, I'd recommend some mystery shots because Delivery Man gets a wasted rating.