Ken Scott successfully moves his Canadian sperm donor comedy to the US, with help from Vince Vaughn
As Michael Haneke discovered with his US retread of Funny Games, directors who remake their own foreign-language hits in America always run the risk of diluting their vision. But with Delivery Man, Canadian director Ken Scott has managed to bring his 2011 film Starbuck to the States with its original sweetness intact. Which, given that it’s the story of how one overly fertile sperm donor fathers 533 children, is quite an achievement.
Vince Vaughn plays David Wozniak, a deli-truck driver for his family’s butcher business in New York. In debt, and barely able to keep his life together, a thunderbolt strikes when he discovers that, due to a clerical error, the numerous sperm donations he made some twenty years previously under the name ‘Starbuck’ have born more fruit than a lemon grove. What’s more, 142 of his offspring have joined forces to legally uncover his real identity.
Although he wants to fight against this public unveiling, against the advice of his lawyer-cum-friend (Chris Pratt), David sets about anonymously encountering some of those he’s fathered. It’s at this point that Delivery Man heaps the sugar on, as David, like some sort of paternal good fairy, gently interferes with some of their lives – holding the fort at a coffee shop so one ‘son’ can head for an acting audition or drawing attention to the busking exploits of another.
It’s here where you’ll either be feeling warm and fuzzy or reaching for a brown bag to heave into. But with Vaughn in likeable form, dialling down his usual frat-boy act, it’s likely to be the former. Parks and Recreation star Pratt makes for an amusing foil, too, as the buffoonish chum. Only Cobie Smulders, it seems, gets short-changed with a lame, functional role as David’s cop-girlfriend. Beyond this, Delivery Man has charm to spare.
General release from Fri 10 Jan.