Ken Scott’s “Starbuck” used an intriguing, if not exactly believable, circumstance and transformed it into a decently entertaining and heartwarming fable. But “Delivery Man,” Scott’s own remake of “Starbuck,” is more of a mistake than anything else. The outlandish premise is fails to sustain greater interest than the directing and talent lend to the project. Although the project is well-intentioned, there is not much to care about within the context of the story.
“Delivery” centers on a man (Vince Vaughn) who frequently donated to a sperm bank under the pseudonym Starbuck. Through an absurd mishap, he discovers he has fathered 533 children.
Scott’s second rendition of “Starbuck” is significantly worse than the original. Perhaps Scott believed he could appeal to a larger audience by simplifying an interesting story — however he lost some qualities that made “Starbuck” special in the process.
Some of the film’s mediocrity lies in the uninspired choice to typecast Vaughn. Once again, Vaughn plays a middle-aged loser who clings to sarcasm and immaturity as a way of coping with his own failures. Viewers may be uninterested in Vaughn at this point in his career, and they would not be the only ones. Vaughn himself appears bored with the role, which is understandable considering his redundant casting. Also, as per usual, Vaughn is cast alongside a female lead (Cobie Smulders) with whom he shares little chemistry.
Still, Smulders and the eclectic supporting cast, which includes Bobby Moynihan and Britt Robertson, prove slightly amusing. Chris Pratt is the best of these actors, and he inserts a shred of comedic value to the film. Pratt even gained 60 pounds for the film. It isn’t necessarily inspired casting, but it allows the ball to keep rolling, as the audience is forced to slog through Vaughn’s discovery of his children and his inevitable call to responsibility in various aspects of his life.
“Delivery” feels designed for audiences who want to stop thinking the second they sit down in a movie theater. Of course, not all movies with this goal are awful, but “Delivery” is the worst of its kind. It feels entirely predictable, and it even wastes the massive amount of talent behind the film. Stick with “Starbuck” instead, because even though it has flaws, you’ll be more likely to forgive them than you would for “Delivery Man.”
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Nov. 20 print edition. Ben Marques is a contributing writer. Email him at [email protected]