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'Delivery Man' is surprisingly heartfelt and fun

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Delivery Man

Rating:
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We Canadian's can get pretty defensive sometimes, most particularly when the Hollywood machine decides to do a remake of a beloved French Canadian film. "Delivery Man" is the English language adaptation of the smash Quebecois darling, "Starbuck" and while elements of it still feel a little out of place it is easily the best thing that Vince Vaughn has done in years.

When affable underachiever David Wosniak (Vince Vaughn) finds out he's fathered 533 children through anonymous donations to a fertility clinic 20 years ago. Now he must decide whether or not to come forward when 142 of them file a lawsuit to reveal his identity and send his completely uninteresting life into a place that he never expected...adulthood.

Even though it's far from a perfect experience, "Delivery Man" still comes through as an effective and heartfelt comedy that actually manages to make some slight improvements on the original. Original co-writer and director Ken Scott comes back to adapt his story and it works as much of this film hits the exact same beats as the original film which is ultimately a positive thing as this film works as such a genuinely emotional and honest story about a screw up trying to find a reason to pull his life together. Scott knows the material inside and out and knows when to keep it as close to the first pass as possible, plus when to make the occasional changes. In gets a little banal at times with some lame jokes and bits that just don't come across, but when it hits, it's gold. The dialogue is crispy and rarely leans on any overt comedic tropes and the ensemble delivers what could best be described as some genuine and honest performances.

In the original film, Patrick Huard's David wasn't always that likeable however this time out Vaughn manages to capture a similar vibe that still allows us to give a damn about him. Vaughn who has been playing variations on the same character for a while now, makes us care and root for David as he navigates this mind field of his own creation. I haven't seen Vaughn work this hard on character in quite some time he crafts this sad sack into a likeable hero and great guy while managing to emote in powerful silence at times rather than leaning on some goofy comedy tropes. Chris Pratt as his best friend and lawyer, almost steals the show delivering some of the best lines as he advises David throughout his baby drama. I could have easily seen either Vaughn or Pratt in the lead, but both men delivered some solid comedic work. Cobie Smulders was OK as the love interest for David but the age difference between Vaughn and Smulders (52-31) was a little distracting and would have played a little better with Pratt instead of Vaughn in the lead, however Vaughn deserves credit for making it as minimal of a distraction as possible instead getting us wrapped in his quest to do something worthwhile in his life.

Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray are first rate and the special features include a look at Building Family and how this wide array of actors who were all cast as friends, family, siblings and how they all bonded through the filming process and afterwards. A look at Vince Vaughn going Off The Cuff and how good he is at improv, bloopers and a deleted scene.

It's hardly a perfect film, and fans of the original will have a hard time getting into this film. However, no matter what the language, "Delivery Man" works just fine as a sweet little feel good story about the value of family no matter what the form and Vaughn makes our hero someone that you want to root for no matter what kind of goofy stuff he ends up doing.

3 out of 5 stars.

"Delivery Man" is now available to rent on DVD, Blu-Ray and On Demand from all major providers. You can also find it for purchase from all major retailers like iTunes, amazon.ca and HMV.

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