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Delivery Man Blu-ray Review

Delivery Man (2013) movie poster Delivery Man

Theatrical Release: November 22, 2013 / Running Time: 105 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Ken Scott / Writers: Ken Scott (screenplay & original screenplay Starbuck); Martin Petit (original screenplay Starbuck)

Cast: Vince Vaughn (David Wozniak), Chris Pratt (Brett), Cobie Smulders (Emma Angelic), Andrzej Blumenfeld (Mikolaj Wozniak), Simon Delaney (Victor Wozniak), Bobby Moynihan (Alesky Wozniak), Dave Patten (Adam), Adam Chanler-Berat (Viggo), Britt Robertson (Kristen), Jack Reynor (Josh), Amos Vanderpoel (Taylor), Matthew Daddario (Channing), Jessica Williams (African American Spa Worker), Leslie Ann Glossner (Young Romantic Girl), Derrick Arthur (Young Boozer), Michael Oberholtzer (Bag Boy), Sιbastien Renι (Ryan), Kevin Hopkins (Andrew Johansson), Damian Young (Attorney Williams), Bruce Altman (Mass Action Attorney)

Buy Delivery Man from Amazon.com: Blu-ray • DVD • Instant Video

With Delivery Man, Ken Scott joins a rare class of filmmakers that includes Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Capra, and Howard Hawks. Hold your excitement:
what these directors have in common is that they remade their own films. Scott wrote and directed the 2011 French film Starbuck. For his English language debut, he did it again, this time as a vehicle for falling star Vince Vaughn.

Vaughn plays David Wozniak, a New Yorker who delivers meat for his family's butcher shop. Owing mobsters $80,000, David can't get a loan, but the movie isn't too concerned with that debt. Instead, David's casual girlfriend, police officer Emma (Cobie Smulders, "How I Met Your Mother"), informs him she's pregnant with their child.

While it's her first, David can't claim the same. He is contacted by the fertility clinic to which he donated sperm in the early 1990s. They reveal that through his donations, David sired 533 children, 142 of whom wish to know his identity, which has been protected by an anonymity clause. The inquisitive parties have started a class action lawsuit to discover their shared biological father, a man they know only by his donor nickname "Starbuck."

David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn) winds up with the mic in his hand at a hotel assembly of the Starbuck Kids in "Delivery Man."

David's best friend, quasi-lawyer Brett (Chris Pratt), who has his hands full with four young children of his own (and thus recommends an abortion), agrees to represent his pal and confidante and to file a countersuit against the clinic for not fully upholding the anonymity clause.

Delivery Man is only mildly more concerned with the legal proceedings than with the men threatening to drown David for his unpaid debts. The film has more interest in the file full of his children's identities, which David uses to play "guardian angel" to these spawn in their late teens and early twenties. He fills in for a barista who wants to act and is missing the audition of a lifetime. He signs the release form to spare a minor with a drug problem mandatory rehab (an odd decision for the movie to get behind without negative consequence).

Turning over the bios on a huge wall fit for thumb tacks, David tracks down his offspring to spend time with them, even gay, black, and handicapped ones! One of them, vegetarian philosopher bibliophile Viggo (Adam Chanler-Berat), finds out David's secret but protects it in exchange for a personal relationship.

Best friend and lawyer Brett (Chris Pratt) practices his courtroom speech out on his four young children. In her largest film role to date, Cobie Smulders gets the thankless job of playing pregnant love interest Emma.

There's little doubt that Delivery Man offers the least promising sperm donation premise since Jason Bateman's The Switch. Like that fellow PG-13 film, Delivery isn't interested in earning belly laughs or shocking you with raunch. It instead aims for dramedy status, a territory that's notoriously tough for a mainstream movie to pull off. :
This film doesn't come anywhere close to success.

From its soundtrack choices to Vaughn's casting, Delivery Man feels like a mid-Noughties film, like a vintage Adam Sandler comedy without the broad characterization or laughs. Or a project that Ben Stiller probably passed on. It's corny, pandering, and dumb. There are countless unfunny montages and a large supporting cast of young people hired for resembling Vaughn who mostly overact as part of their big break.

With projects like this and The Internship, it's gotten tough to believe that Vaughn used to be funny and cool. I won't pretend I haven't enjoyed his persona in certain movies. Nor will I lament his transition from indie firecracker to prototypical Frat Packer. But since commercially peaking with Wedding Crashers, it's been downhill for him. Perhaps his best work since 2005 came in the holiday comedies Fred Claus and Four Christmases, which probably aren't as harmless as I remember them. The actor hasn't headlined anything resembling a hit since the regrettable Couples Retreat five years ago. It doesn't seem like a particularly smart idea to pencil "Untitled Vince Vaughn Movie" onto the studio calendar. (And yet, Fox has done just that for March 2015.)

Delivery Man's predictable results -- critical trashing and box office disappointment -- were among the latest setbacks for DreamWorks Pictures, a studio that now seems certain to lose Walt Disney Company distribution after their deal expires at the end of the year. Announced as a 5-year, 30-film arrangement, the partnership has yielded only ten releases to date. Of them, only two have been runaway hits (Lincoln, The Help) and most have flatlined (The Fifth Estate, Fright Night, People Like Us).

Disney signed the DreamWorks deal six months before buying Marvel and years before acquiring Lucasfilm. The corporation's entertainment needs appear to be met between those and other big brands (Pixar, Disney Animation). That casts doubt over the future of the once shining studio that distributed Saving Private Ryan, American Beauty, Gladiator, Shrek, and Catch Me If You Can in successive years. Well, the live-action side, anyway. Split in 2005 and now distributed by Fox, DreamWorks Animation has its own struggles to iron out, as its returns continue to inch downward.

Anyhow, Delivery Man came to DVD and Blu-ray this week. Directly affected by Disney's move away from combo packs, its preorderable Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy getting nixed in favor of separate single-disc Blu-ray and DVD editions.

Delivery Man Blu-ray Disc cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
5.1 DTS-HD MA (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (French, Spanish),
Dolby Surround 2.0 (Descriptive Video Service)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (BD-50)
Suggested Retail Price: $32.99
Blue Keepcase with Side Snap
Also available on DVD ($29.99 SRP) and Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

Though the movie has its share of problems, the Blu-ray presentation does not. The 2.40:1 transfer is spotless, sharp, and suitably vibrant. The score-heavy 5.1 DTS-HD master audio doesn't stand out in any way, but it gets the easy job done without any difficulties.

Adam Chanler-Berat is among the young actors discussing their experiences in "Building Family." Vince Vaughn's gift for improvisation has him and Cobie Smulders laughing in this outtake.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The Blu-ray's quartet of HD bonus features begins with "Building Family" (15:43). A little more interesting than the typical making-of featurette, this reveals Steven Spielberg's input
(the casting of a Polish actor to play Vaughn's immigrant father), Chris Pratt's weight gain offer, and Cobie Smulders' New York cop ride-along to get into character. It devotes much time the young adults, who relay their experiences with help from their audition tapes and speak fondly of this friendship-forging experience.

"Vince Vaughn Off-the-Cuff" (4:33) gives us some of the actor's improvisations, while the crew and his co-stars marvel at his comedic talent.

"Bloopers" (4:35) strings together snippets where actors laugh (but you probably won't) along with more seemingly unnecessary talking head comments.

Officer Emma (Cobie Smulders) finds David's pot farm in this awful deleted scene. This shot of the Blu-ray menu illustrates whoever designed it stayed true to the profile page design seen in the film itself.

Finally, we get a single deleted scene (1:36), in which Emma finds David's pot farm and threatens arrest.
No explanation for the deletion is necessary; it's an awful scene that reflects terribly on both characters.

Digging around the disc, I found a two-minute Easter egg about young actor Jack Raynor's casting. I have no idea how to access it by menu.

The disc opens with trailers for Need for Speed and Thor: The Dark World, followed by that singing New York cowboy's anti-smoking spot. The menu's "Sneak Peeks" listing replays the two trailers.

The menu plays clips in a rectangle within what is designed to look like David's folder of children, placing listings on Post-It notes. The Blu-ray doesn't resume playback or let you set bookmarks, but does remember where you left off in the movie after you get back to the menu.

The plain side-snapped keepcase is not enlivened by any inserts, slipcover, reverse cover artwork, or a distinctive disc label. That just supports the illusion of a 2005 movie that in 2014 seems to belong in a bargain bin. It's worth noting that for home video Vaughn's T-shirt has been switched from the gray of theatrical posters to a Charlie Brown yellow, presumably to really make the movie stand out more. Good luck with that!

Take him out to the ballgame. Vince Vaughn IS David Wozniak, even though he claims "Yo no soy David Wozniak."

CLOSING THOUGHTS

I can't say I was expecting much from Delivery Man, but this ill-conceived, schmaltzy Vince Vaughn dramedy still fell short. Though the average moviegoer might not hate the film (as evidenced by its currently far too high 6.4 IMDb rating), it's a really poor attempt at feel-good entertainment which makes one feel very bad about the current state of Vince Vaughn's career.

This fine but basic Blu-ray isn't worth your time, money, or thought. It seems destined to turn up in a bargain bin by next year and even then there will be hundreds of new movies more deserving of your attention.

Buy Delivery Man from Amazon.com: Blu-ray / DVD / Instant Video

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Related Reviews:
Vince Vaughn: Fred Claus • Four Christmases • Into the Wild • Lay the Favorite • Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy • Into the Wild
Chris Pratt: Take Me Home Tonight • Zero Dark Thirty • 10 Years • Movie 43 • Moneyball • Jennifer's Body
New: The Wolf of Wall Street • Saving Mr. Banks • The Past • The Great Beauty
Dan in Real Life • The Switch • Identity Thief • The Fifth Estate

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Reviewed March 28, 2014.



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