Vince Vaughn needs to stop. Seriously. His steady decline, which began with “Fred Claus,” has seen the star go from slick, uber-entertaining lounge host to greasy, insufferable lounge host. He needs to change up his shtick and soon. “Delivery Man,” the latest in his long line of safe, unfunny outings, only continues his downward spiral.
David (Vaughn) drives a truck delivering meat from his family’s butcher shop around New York. He also owes some not so nice guys $80,000. His girlfriend (Cobie Smulders) has grown tired of his antics, much like the rest of us, and is ready to end the relationship. To top it off, David has just learned he sired over 500 children while donating to a sperm bank under the pseudonym Starbuck over 20 years ago. Terrified, David works with his best friend/lawyer (Chris Pratt) to keep his identity a secret from the kids.
What does it matter? None of it goes anywhere. The money problems don’t fully come to the forefront, his girlfriend is quick to forgive him after a little pleading and, despite wanting to keep his kids from knowing he’s their father, begins sneaking around, individually meeting some of them. The filmmakers could have tied everything in together so that all of the different plot strands would at least matter a little, but they don’t. They’re all kept in compartments and tied up with neat little bows.
Director Ken Scott, who directed the original Canadian version (called “Starbuck”), drags the mystery of Starbuck’s true identity on for so long it becomes inane. At one point, David sneaks into a town hall meeting with his 500-plus kids in there, and only one out of the lot even thinks he’s the father. Even when he runs into a bunch of the kids immediately following the meeting, nobody raises an eyebrow at him. Nobody wonders “Hey, this guy looks a little like me.” None of that. It’s ridiculous.
The only parts of the film that have even the slightest hint of realism and authenticity is David’s interaction with a severely handicapped, institutionalized son of his. These segments are actually handled with grace and care, but that takes up, oh, six minutes of the film.
The funny thing about “Delivery Man” is that Vaughn sort of changes up his routine a little. He’s not a motor mouth. He’s not even really trying to be funny at all, which should be a welcome change; the now insufferable smart ass is gone. The problem is without Vaughn’s usual antics, “Delivery Man” is revealed for what it truly is: beyond a somewhat intriguing idea, the movie has zero legs to stand on. Much like Vaughn himself these days.