Director: Ken Scott
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt, Cobie Smulders, Bobby Moynihan, Britt Robertson, Jack Reynor
It is not unheard of for a director to do a remake of his own work. Alfred Hitchcock did it with The Man Who Knew Too Much. Michael Haneke released two versions of Funny Games. Director Ken Scott’s 2011 film Starbuck received pretty positive reviews and was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. His follow-up to that is an exact remake to that film, but now stars Vince Vaughn and is renamed as Delivery Man. David Wozniak (Vaughn) is an incompetent, irresponsible, delivery man working for his family’s meat market. He cannot seem to handle any task large or small that comes his way. He decides to start growing marijuana in his apartment because he owes $80,000 to some drug lords. He soon finds out his ex-girlfriend Emma (Smulders) is now pregnant. He sees this as the eye-opener he needs to get his life back together if she will let him back into her life.
To make matters even worse, David finds out that he has fathered 533 children after donating to a sperm bank in his twenties. He made his donations under the name “Starbuck” and now 142 of them have gathered together to form a class action lawsuit for his identity to be unveiled. He is handed a list of names, contact information, and pictures of these 142 children and attempts to meet them without them knowing who he is. He wants to do some sort of good samaritan deed as each of them seem to have problems or be in some sort of rut. He turns to his friend Brett (Pratt), a non-licensed lawyer, for help on his case who strongly objects to every step David is taking when dealing with his new predicament.
Right from the opening scene you see that David is not a great guy. He is that irresponsible slob that you just do not have time for or even care about. With Vince Vaughn playing him, he brings out that cocky jerk type quality he brings into every role. You have no sympathy whatsoever for the character as he keeps making these dumb decisions over and over again. His good deed attempts try to be genuine, but the script never allows us to fully get to know these new children that he is helping. We only get to know roughly six of them that each get their basic introduction scene when David meets them and then fade into the rest of the group after that. The overall writing seems poor and disjointed at times. There is a general wash of emotion from the children as they all feel the same way about David. They all want to meet him and as the story unfolds they all still continue to feel chummy and happy about him no matter what lies and deception he has told. You cannot tell me that each of them would all react the exact same way or that a few of them wouldn’t be a little more pissed off than the others. The subplot of David owing $80,000 is unneeded and feels out of place the very few times we come back to it. It feels like an unnecessary plot device to just show him off as a deadbeat.
I kept wondering if this was supposed to be a comedy, a drama, a dramedy, or some sort of feel good inspirational movie. To put it frankly, I got a little bored at times. That is what happens when I do not really care about any of the characters. I have heard wonderful things about Starbuck. Much of this remake is a direct replica of that as Ken Scott wrote and directed both of them, so I am wondering how this one really missed the mark. You may be thinking that I truly hated this movie, but that is not the case. It will not even make my Worst of 2013 list. There are already five films on the list that are worse offenders. It has an interesting premise, and I enjoyed the concept of the good deeds he does for his children. I keep calling them children, but they are all in their twenties. There is potential here, but it all comes down to the execution of how we get to the point. This same story and idea could have been structured in a different way with better character development and more heart to have the audience feel a bit more sympathy for David or the children. I know it would have been far more enjoyable with a different actor as the title character. I wonder what it would have been like with either Steve Carell or Adam Scott as David. Instead of re-imagining this movie, maybe I should just head over to my Netflix streaming queue as Starbuck is available in that format.
RATING: ** (2 out of 5 stars)