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Delivery Man (2013)
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 3/25/2014
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 3/27/2014
I think it's safe to assume that we've all seen a movie that we didn't quite understand, most likely from the science-fiction genre, or perhaps a twisty thriller. ("Wait a minute, she was her own daughter?") Of course, these days, if you feel that you don't get a movie, simply visit a chat forum and some jackass will belittle you for not understanding it and introduce you to their own wild theory about the explanation. But, what about a movie where you simply can't buy into the premise? In order for a movie to work on the most rudimentary level, the audience has to be willing to accept the story, no matter how far-fetched it may be. Delivery Man lost me from the outset and thus I experienced a movie in which I never believed.
Vince Vaughn stars in Delivery Man as David Wozniak, a slacker who drives the delivery truck for his family's meat business. David rarely takes responsibility for anything, which is why his on-again/off-again girlfriend, Emma (Cobie Smulders) is reluctant to tell David that she's pregnant. David is visited by a lawyer (Damian Young) who informs him that a lab has released the fact that an individual made over 600 sperm donations and that those donations resulted in 533 children. However, the lab did not release the person's name, only their pseudonym, "Starbuck". 142 of the children conceived using "Starbuck's" specimens are suing to learn his true identity. Of course, David is "Starbuck". The lawyer leaves behind a packet with the profiles of the individuals who have filed the suit. Against the advice of his own lawyer (Chris Pratt), David opens the packet and begins to read about the kids. He then begins to visit them and become involved in their lives, all the way pretending to simply be a friendly stranger. The exposure to these people opens David's eyes to the potential of parenthood.
As noted above, this movie lost me from the get-go. Why? Because Delivery Man lives in a world where vague meets half-baked. The explanation for how or why the information concerning Starbuck and how his many samples resulted in a great number of children is not fully explored. To say that it's glossed-over would be an understatement. Was this merely a mistake? Was it a vindictive employee? And then we have the lawsuit filed by the 142 children who want to know who their biological father is. Why? We get some really vague explanations, but the movie completely fails to explore the lives of these characters. Where are the parents who raised them? How do they feel about this? How did they learn that they were a Starbuck child? One of the children has severe disabilities and is apparently non-communicative. How did he express interest in filing a lawsuit? The whole premise is a very flimsy house of cards and cannot support the weight of any story which follows.
But, the film does press on with a story and it doesn't amount to much either. One by one, David begins to visit and interact with the children, coming across as the greatest good samaritan ever. He helps one get a job, helps one get self- esteem, helps one get off of heroin. (Wait, what was that last one? Yes, Delivery Man tells us that one can quite heroin in just one night.) These individuals are never wary of David's help and don't question him. Of course, New Yorkers are always going out of their way to help one another, so I'm sure this all seemed perfectly normal. The movie really insults our intelligence when David is caught with a group of the children and no one attempts to cross-examine him or pry into how he's acquainted with all of these people involved ina lawsuit. (David does give an explanation, but they could have easily called him on it.)
Is all of this nitpicking? Of course it is, but Delivery Man seems to be attempting to set a record for plot holes and lapses in logic. Add to that the fact that Vince Vaughn is playing the exact same character which he plays in every movie and you've got a film which feels very lazy. The only emotional response here is tied to the character who is disabled, and this feels very manipulative. The film's only saving grace is Chris Pratt, who has some good lines, and the scene with his sleepwalking children if funny. Otherwise, we have a movie which appears to be telling us that we shouldn't sweat the details or worry about reality in any way. But, that's easier said than done, as the movie tests our limitations and certainly does not deliver.
Delivery Man inadvertently shames sperm donation which actually does help people on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 30 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look good, most notably reds, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good, as is the depth -- both are what we would expect from a dramedy on Blu-ray. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.4 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The street scenes provide good stereo and surround effects. The channels are nicely separated and the sounds move well from front to back and side to side. The subwoofer effects come from truck sounds and some musical cues.
The Delivery Man Blu-ray Disc contains a small collection of special features. "Building Family" (16 minutes) examines the cast of the film. We get comments from the actors who discuss their characters and how they became involved in the film. We also hear from the creative team, who talk about their choices. "Vince Vaughn: Off the Cuff" (5 minutes) looks at the actor's improvisational skills and we see some outtakes where Vaughn tries some different things. The Disc contains one DELETED SCENE which runs about 2 minutes and features an actually interesting scene from early in the film. The final extra is a 5-minute reel of BLOOPERS.
Review Copyright 2014 by Mike Long