Vince Vaughn’s latest film can’t be categorised as a straight up comedy or an outright drama, and ends up meandering unhelpfully across the no man’s land between the two genres. But for all its mawkishness, Delivery Man has its heart in the right place, as long as you don’t scrutinise the finer details too closely.
Vaughn plays David Wozniak, a 40-something loser who’s stuck working for his family business and has accumulated big debts with some shady characters. His on-off girlfriend Emma (Cobie Smulders) is pregnant, but doesn’t seem keen on keeping Dave in the picture because of his flakiness, and to add to his woes he discovers he’s the father of 533 children after a mix up at a fertility clinic back in the early 90s. With a decent proportion of his estranged progeny suing to find out his identity, his family could suddenly get a lot larger.
David decides to sort his life out, and begins by stalking a few of his unexpected offspring, involving himself in their affairs and acting as a guardian angel while keeping his background a secret. But as his money problems start to catch up with him his existing family is dragged in, jeopardising his future as a father to even one child, let alone hundreds. Then there’s a contrived happy ending.
This disjointed straddling of comedy and bleak drama leads to some confusing sequences during which it’s not obvious whether the audience is supposed to laugh or cry. But Vaughn is boisterously likeable even while operating on autopilot, and although it’s not rife with laughs or flush with truly poignant moments, it easily outclasses his other recent efforts. The Watch and The Internship were dire. Delivery Man is merely not great.