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“Delivery Man” – Early Review (NEGATIVE)

November 21, 2013

Screen shot 2013-11-21 at 5.46.55 PMYou know, there was a time where I really liked seeing a Vince Vaughn movie, “Dodgeball”“Wedding Crashers”“Clay Pigeons”, whatever. Now a days, I feel that Vaughn is just scrapping at the bottom of the barrel of his pre-2005 glory days. He’s either doing too much of his lovable nice-guy schtick, or he’s underused, with this Americanized remake of Ken Scott’s “Starbuck”, and don’t worry I’m gonna discuss Ken Scott here, I think Vaughn was severely and poorly underused in the role given to him.

“Delivery Man” is based on the 2011 French-Canadian film, “Starbuck”, both films which are written & directed by Ken Scott. EXACTLY like the original, the story follows a modern day slacker, David Wozniak (Vaughn), who after completing a record 693 sperm donations made between the years of 1991-1994, has managed to father 533 children, 142 of them are suing the agency who accidentally released David’s fake pseudonym, ‘Starbuck’, out.

Look, if you’re conflicted on whether or not you want to see this movie, let me save you the trouble; go to Netflix and watch the original film, “Starbuck”, starring Paul Huard. It’s a better acted, and better done movie, with some strong dramatic overtones and an insightful end. “Delivery Man” is literally a shot-for-shot, scene-by-scene, dialogue-by-dialogue remake of the original film directed by the original films director and co-writer. I’ve been puzzling over this, not many directors of a foreign film come back to direct their own movie for American audiences, it’s a rare occasion, but it is somewhat unheard of.

The only thing I can fathom why Ken Scott did this, was mainly because “Starbuck” did somewhat-underperform in Canada. Which is strange, it stars one of the countries more successful Canadian actors, Paul Huard, an actor who can do just about anything, he’s funny & can play dramatic quite well (see “Cadavres”). Huard resembles a bit of Vaughn, which is probably the only reason why I think Vaughn was cast in this remake, to play a simple carbon copy of the David from the original film and after watching the original just before seeing the new one, it was  deja vu.

The problem with “Starbuck” is that it’s not something I think one can simple redo for American audiences, the story is certainly high concept, much like a lot of American films are, but the story itself paints the character in a bad light, and by the end of the film he’s still a flawed individual but he has progress on his side to guide him, and for “Delivery Man” I didn’t see that. Although, “Starbuck” didn’t have Chris Pratt as David’s best friend/lawyer, honestly he was the only decent thing in this lousy film. There’s a scene added into the American version that wasn’t in the original, which features Pratt’s character, it was probably the best scene in the entire movie.

If only the director could redo the film with a new outlook on the same concept, create new scenes like the one with Pratt that differentiate it from the original. I think a perfect example of a (comedic) foreign film vs. it’s American counter part would be “La Cage Aux Folles” and “The Birdcage”, if only Scott would’ve used both of those films as a sort of guide on how to re-adapt ones own film.

GRADE: D+

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